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Knight and Day(2010)
A woman is caught between a covert agent and those he claims set him up. As their globetrotting adventure erupts into a maze of double-crosses, close escapes, false identities, and head-spinning romantic snafus, they come to realize that all they can count on is each other.
For more about Knight and Day and the Knight and Day Blu-ray release, see Knight and Day Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on December 2, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Patrick O'Neill
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard
» See full cast & crew
Knight and Day Blu-ray Review
An action/romance on Cruise control.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, December 2, 2010
Knight and Day is an action-romance-comedy mash-up that mines the same tonal vein as Charade, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and countless other quasi-thrillers that have laughs, love, and danger in equal measure. Call it Diet Bourne or Bond-Lite, but sometimes this is just what an audience needs—a globe-spanning escapist adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously. A popcorn muncher. A turn off your brain, sit back, and enjoy the show romp. Heck, yesterday, it was exactly what I needed. Earlier that morning I had to sit through the abominable Vampires Suck—which understandably left a bad taste in my mouth—so Knight and Day acted as a kind of minty clean cinematic palette cleanser. And that's a good way to think of the film; bright and fresh, Listerine in filmic form. It's not snooty or message-laden, it doesn't beat you over the head with blunt violence or smother you in soppy sentiment; Knight and Day simply endeavors to take you on a fun, action-filled ride. If you laugh or sigh longingly a few times along the way, then all the better. And unless you're a consummate grump, you probably will.
We begin in the Wichita airport, where classic car restorer June Havens (Cameron Diaz) is trying to get through airport security with a carry-on bag full of pistons and exhaust pipes. (Needless to say, the suspicious TSA agent is not pleased.) Inside the terminal, June accidentally—we're led to believe—bumps into handsome charmer Roy Miller (Tom Cruise). There's an instant spark of attraction. They flirt on the nearly empty plane—talking about their "bucket lists" and how "someday" is just another word for "never"—but when June goes to the bathroom to psyche herself into kissing this enchanting stranger, Roy goes on a mini-rampage, killing a bunch of secret agents and, inadvertently, the pilots.
See, Roy is no mere Casanova; he's actually a CIA spy who went rogue after his corrupt partner (Peter Saarsgard) tried to kill Simon Feck (Paul Dano), a civilian scientist who—hang your disbelief on the hook by the door—has developed a perpetual motion machine, a double-A battery-sized device called The Zephyr that has enough juice to power a small city or nuclear submarine. That's Roy's line, anyway. We're initially meant to feel ambiguity towards Cruise's character. Is he who he says he is? What are his intentions with June? Is he a good guy, or does he just want to pawn off The Zephyr on the black market and make a boatload of cash? If we don't know, June is even more baffled. She comes out of the bathroom to find dead bodies littering the aisle and the plane going into a sudden nosedive. She has no choice but to trust Roy, who puts the jetliner down in a cornfield and whisks her off the next morning on an adventure that will take them in style through a series of impossibly scenic locales.
Together, they drive from Boston to Brooklyn, boat to a secluded tropical island, travel by train through the Alps to Salzburg, and even motorcycle through the Running of the Bulls in Spain, pursued all the while by both the CIA and a vengeful Spanish arms dealer (Jordi Mollà) who also wants to get his hands on the energy device. (Perhaps too conveniently, the script employs the comic contrivance of having Roy drug June before they skip from one location to the next, so she's always waking up in a new place.) There's definitely a North by Northwest vibe going on here, from the vehicular escapades and zippy romantic repartee, to the use of The Zephyr as one of Hitchcock's favorite plot devices, the MacGuffin, an object that has no real purpose but to set the characters in motion.
And the emphasis here is absolutely on motion. The full-tilt pace rarely relents and there are several action set pieces that, while tame in comparison to the stuff you see in the Bourne trilogy, are well-choreographed and marginally thrilling, particularly the scene that has Cruise —who did many of his own stunts—hanging off the hood of an out-of-control sedan whilst taking potshots at the bad guys. (Or, as Roy calls them, "the worse guys." )The scene during the Running of the Bulls brings the film dangerously close to jumping the proverbial shark—come on, it's more than a little ridiculous—but it is inherently satisfying to see a herd of bulls trample and overturn a tiny European sports car. If anything, the film could use a little more down time, some space for the characters to breathe and develop. Obviously, it's inevitable that Roy and June will get together, but the process of getting to that point doesn't exactly feel natural.
I'd blame this on the script, a pastiche of contributions from twelve writers that went through a development hell of endless revisions. The actors certainly aren't at fault. Color me surprised, but Cameron and Tom are actually in top form here. Diaz plays more fragile than her usual spunky self; her June is completely bewildered for much of the film before arriving at the confidence to go after what she wants. (That is, Roy.) There's a great bit where Antonio, the arms dealer, gives her a truth serum; when Roy rescues her, she can't help but blurt out, "I think I feel like having sex. I think we'd have really good sex." It could easily come out as hokey, but Diaz gives the scene a loopy, energetic lustiness that's funny without going over-the-top.
And in a weird way, Tom Cruise seems to be playing himself here, and not off-puttingly so. Granted, he often comes off more like "Tom Cruise" than the character he's supposed to be playing, but in Knight and Day, it's almost like he's satirizing both his Mission Impossible super- spy and his public persona. Like Cruise, Roy seems endlessly optimistic, sure of his ability to get by on his gleaming-row-of-Chicklets smile. He's a survivor, always able to get out of a room full of machine-gun toting hardasses, just as Cruise's career continues despite wacko jump-on-Oprah's- couch moments and insane Scientology proclamations. Both men are as charismatic as cult leaders. Their innate self-confidence is slightly untrustable and even occasionally creepy, but hey, it works for the film.
Knight and Day Blu-ray, Video Quality
Knight and Day hijacks Blu-ray with a gorgeous 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer from 20th Century Fox. The image is here is simply beautiful—I'd even say reference-grade for many sequences—and you'd have to be a serious nitpicker to have any real complaints. With the exception of a few slightly soft-looking shots—due to focusing issues—clarity is ultra-refined throughout. Every texture of Diaz and Cruise's Hollywood-perfect skin is visible for our inspection. Background detail is clear and resolved when it's intended to be—the camerawork often employs a pleasingly shallow depth of field—and you'll have no trouble making out the stitching on costuming and even individual grains of sand when Roy and June have a tumble on the beach. Color is dense but natural throughout, skin tones are warm, and there's a punchy sense of contrast that gives the image a palpable depth and dimensionality. All of this is aided by deep, tone-sculpting black levels and a grain structure that's extremely fine. Finally, at no point did I notice any compression or encode hiccups. This one's quite a looker.
Knight and Day Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The film's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a real winner as well, broadcasting the ongoing action with beefy dynamics, substantial surround channel usage, and crystalline clarity. The track gets off to a strong start in the very first scene, as the Wichita airport is filled with convincing ambience from all sides, from the murmur of distant voices and patter of footsteps to announcements made over the loudspeaker that carry appropriately reverberous acoustics. All of which is a way to say that even the quiet scenes in the film show evidence of thoughtful sound design. Of course, the mix really revs up when the proverbial crap hits the fan, sending our heroes into some sonically bombastic action sequences. Crisp, loud gunfire sprays and pings throughout the soundfield. Cars and helicopters, motorcycles and jets rip between channels with whip-neck speed. When the plane crash-lands in the cornfield, stalks slap across the windshield and wooden fences groan and split. All of the effects have a realistic sense of weight, and the frantic action is underscored by composer John Powell's hard-hitting score. Somehow, dialogue stays grounded, clear, and comprehensible throughout. Knight and Day may not have the uber-aggressive mix of top-tier action flicks, but it really does sound fantastic.
Knight and Day Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
I would've loved a commentary track with director James Mangold and/or Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, but alas, it's not to be. Still, the disc comes with an assortment of fun—if fluffy—featurettes:
Knight and Day Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Knight and Day, the latest film from James Mangold—director of Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, and Girl, Interrupted—is a fun summer fling that will leave you satisfied if you're looking for a capably told action/romance/comedy that values style and élan over a plausible plot. It's not a perfect film, but it has something for everyone and plenty of charm, thanks to winning performances from Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. (Who previously paired up in Vanilla Sky.) Fox's Blu-ray release is a stunner as well, with a near-perfect video transfer, a hard-hitting audio track, and a few fun extras to sweeten the deal. Worth a rental, at least.
Knight and Day: Other Editions
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Knight and Day Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Knight and Day Blu-ray Announced in the UK with Extended Cut - October 7, 2010
The UK branch of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the action comedy Knight and Day, in a "Triple Play" (BD/DVD/Digital Copy) edition. Unlike the US edition, this release will include the extended cut, with seven never-before-seen minutes of stars ...
• Knight and Day Blu-ray Announced - October 7, 2010
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has officially announced the Blu-ray release of the Cruise/Diaz action comedy Knight and Day for November 30, in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack and a limited-edition BD/DVD holiday combo pack; some retailers are also offering ...
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