Knight and Day


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If implausible and unfettered cinematic escapism has a face this summer, who better than Tom Cruise’s smug profile to associate with it?  After all, we know him from Top Gun, know what he’s capable of from The Firm and Mission Impossible, and know just how crazy he appeared in Tropic Thunder.  While it may be approaching five years since last we saw Cruise handle an automatic weapon, Knight and Day celebrates his return to all things action-packed by tossing in a little more of the now-familiar Cruise trademarked CRAZY into the mix for some over-the-top yet cleanly sanitized goofiness.

Cruise’s mission this time out is simple: keep Cameron Diaz alive.  Diaz’s June Havens has seen the uber-secret government agency he works for in action and, as a witness to his ruthless slaughter of 15 people on board a plane (truly the most entertaining the film gets in its delivery), Cruise must protect her in order to keep the agency from killing her.  Simple, focused and direct, Knight and Day keeps the steady pace driving and full-throttled as it introduces the rationale for the chase: a compact source of perpetual energy developed by a young scientist (Paul Dano).  Unfortunately, for the thirty or so people who saw Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl in this summer’s already forgotten Killers, Knight and Day comes across as an overly-stylized retread of familiar ground.  For those who didn’t make the mistake of going near that film, Knight and Day comes across as an overly-stylized retread of a 1963 masterpiece called Charade (minus the suspense, the chemistry, and Mancini’s score).  Yet, the film – pulling a few hallucinogenic punches courtesy of Patrick O’Neill’s frothy script – does manage to charm its way into a likeable category despite the alarming amount of unanswered narrative gaps.

Still understanding the joke about his off-screen persona, Cruise bellows crazy like no other as super-secret spy Roy Miller and, certainly, Knight and Day thrives from it.  In its best modern-day Cruise moment, the actor madly riffs about the hazards of milk for a good minute or so.  Good thing Cruise is here, though.  Otherwise, we might have had Kutcher’s Killers Part 2 on our hands.  Diaz, while still capable of some mighty fine comedic timing, is mostly in goofy and awkward form here as the vintage-car restorer awaiting her “knight” in shining armor and she doesn’t sell it too well.  Ultimately, this is a shame because movies like this stand on well-balanced footing because of the chemistry between the stars (again, think Grant and Hepburn in Charade).  Quite simply, the romance in Knight and Day doesn’t work.  Tedious and simplistic, the chemistry eerily comes across as a sort of brother and sister type of relationship which, as perverted as Hollywood can be perceived as being sometimes, isn’t the aim of O’Neill’s script.

Mangold, responsible for 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line, is extremely versatile as a director, yet his tightness on the controls slips momentarily with some of the high-rising and hair-raising action conceits as Cruise and Diaz traverse the world.  Whether traveling the globe via plane, motorcycle, car, or train - all modes of transportation result in comedic chases that defy logic, the special effects (which are surprisingly noticeable far too often), and even the narrative’s own established rules of play.  It’s an unrealistically energized world captured by Mangold’s camera and brought to life in a surreal swirl of changing landscapes and bright, brighter, and even brighter colors – all which compound the notion that this is a male-contrived fantasy full of over-the-top action and theatrics.

Disappointing as an action film and not entertaining enough as soley a comedy, Knight and Day manages to sucker punch its audience with its manic duplicity yet never completely satisfy in either category.  What isn’t disguised so well is the unavoidable elephant in the room: the film exists purely to reunite two once-primed, still attractive, but aging stars for an exciting round-the-world adventure of nonsense and role reversals.  Undemanding and inconsequential, Knight and Day, as a logic defying screwball comedy of general summer silliness, shouldn’t really offend anyone paying a matinee price.

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 7, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
:English, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Knight and Day Blu-ray

Gorgeous AVC encode that presents clear blue water as well as it does snow, and night as well as it does day. Flesh tones are natural, depth of picture is thoroughly layered, blacks dense and detailed. No sign of aliasing, and only the briefest of softness on wide establishing shots—terrific presentation.

Sound is as impressive as the picture; the lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio is rich and layered. Explosions could shatter the front windows, dialogue is intimate and clean, ambience is one of the most intricate mixes I’ve heard this year (airport scene at the start prime example). Top notch.

Extras are the most mediocre element of the package. Boring, everyone loves everyone/talking heads featurettes, and some behind the scenes shite showing the stars and company having fun during production (glad it was fun for you guys, but we were at work). On the plus side this crap might help you see the film itself isn’t half bad.


Commentary Track:

  • None


  • Wilder Knights and Crazier Days (1080p, 12:30)
  • Boston Days and Spanish Knights (1080p, 8:10)
  • Knight and "Someday" (1080i, 9:09)
  • Viral Video: Soccer (1080i, 1:10)
  • Viral Video: Kick (1080i, 1:23)
  • Knight and Day: Story (1080i, 3:50)
  • Knight and Day: Scope (1080i, 3:05)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 2:26)
  • BD-Live Exclusive - Not Your Regular Spy (720p, 2:42)