There was a time when action stars ruled the box office. The days when an actor had to precariously balance his good looks, macho attitude and a killer smile on top of being clever, quirky and funny. Those days no longer exist.
Instead, we get stern men whose bravado and poise make us fall in love with their strong reserve, but they don't make us laugh. Or, we get funny men who have tears streaming from our eyes, but they don't have us convinced that their quick reflexes and strength will save the day.
In Knight and Day, director James Mangold takes actors Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz back to that heyday of basic popcorn blockbuster fun when remakes of obscure films and unnecessary sequels didn't litter the box office. Stripped down, the movie is your typical action spy movie with a bit of romantic comedy thrown in for good measure. Cruise plays Roy Miller, a rogue government agent who believes that the good guys are actually the bad guys in this case. Unfortunately, car mechanic, June Havens (Diaz), gets swept up in the mess on her way to her sister's wedding. She has to decide which party to trust in order to stay alive. Some might complain that the whole film is predictable, the story pedestrian and the ending cliché.
But, Mangold isn't trying to reinvent the wheel on Knight and Day, and to its benefit, that's what turns the film from something you should skip to something you should see. The director takes what these skilled actors are known for -- Cruise and his suave, yet crazy ways and Diaz with her bubbly charm -- and highlights them in the genre where they'll excel. By Mangold not over directing the talent, Cruise's and Diaz's natural chemistry to flow together make the completely unrealistic story at the very least enjoyable for the duration of the time you have to sit in your seat.
The brilliant casting of Knight and Day shows that even though both actors might not be the hot stars they used to be, there's no one else who can play these roles. This may not be Cruise's best movie, but he reminds audiences why they still find themselves drawn to him. His character is completely out of his mind, but has a good heart. He can wield a gun, throw down on a bare knuckle fist fight and still make it back in time to win the girl with his sweet intentions.
Okay, so maybe Cruise's character is completely unrealistic and girls from the middle of nowhere can't expect to suddenly live danger-filled lives. And, maybe that's why people have moved away from creating the all-too-perfect action movie for something a bit more gritty. But, in essence, isn't there are a part of us that still wants that sometimes from our Hollywood movie? Admit it, there is a part of us that wants to escape to a new world where we can pretend that our own existence and the lives of those surrounding us are more exciting than they actually are.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5