Knight and Day

Imagine the screenwriter’s or his agent’s sales pitch to some exec at a studio:

You know Bourne? Well this guy is Bourne without … the amnesia. But with a sense of humor. You known Bond? You know Mission Impossible? Well this is all of those and then some. And Tom Cruise won’t be able to resist this script…

Well he or she was right. Very right. Screenwriter Patrick O’Neill sold his screenplay. And 20th Century Fox, a News Company, and Regency Pictures got a return on their investment from me on the day the picture opened, hours ago, today.

Cruise is Roy Miller, not the Roy Miller played by Matt Damon (Bourne) in Green Zone; just another Roy Miller who happens to be one of those super spy/agents (pick one).

... I'm that guy....

Cameron Diaz plays June Havens, a regular girl with the interest, knowledge, and skills necessary in restoring heavy metal cars. She’s plenty cute, with a winning smile, and you’ll have no trouble liking her.

Well Havens and Miller bump into one another (literally) and twice, at the Wichita airport. Havens is in Kansas because it is Used Car parts heaven. And Miller is there because they’ve got meet somewhere.

From bumping into one another they go on to plane crashes, high speed road chases, rooftop chases in Salzburg, assorted shoot-outs with CIA agents or swat teams under the employ of an evil Spaniard arms merchant, a fight to the death on a train in the Austrian Alps, and they even find themselves in the midst of the running of the bulls in Sevilla, Espana. Most of this frantic action has more than a touch of unbelievability to it. Which is par for the course.

It is a thrill a minute (almost) adventure, with some cute man/woman banter as you’d expect in a rom/com. All of which is about this ‘thing’ which is called The Zephyr. It really doesn’t matter what the thing is. Suffice to say, lots of folks want it, and there’s nothing they won’t do to get it or to keep it. Hitchcock called such a device a MacGuffin because it is simply an object that people will chase each other around for. Its real purpose is less important than its intended use as a plot device.

Ok, that’s what you are going to see. The story itself isn’t much more than what I’ve outlined above. Don’t be expecting anything too serious.

Though some of the reviews are less than enthusiastic, and some readers comments make negative references to Cruise’s height, his Scientology affiliation, or his weird turn on Oprah’s couch –  I was entertained. Not royally entertained. But I will go so far as to say – handsomely entertained.

Yeah, it’s lightweight, but that is why it is a summer release. Yeah the action is mindless – Miller can’t miss, but the bad guys chasing the hero and heroine rarely succeed. Oh sure, by my count, Miller is hit by bullets three times. But he is never hurt bad. A simple fade to black, a change of locales, and he’s fine. Which takes us back to mindless.

Some have said that the chemistry between Diaz and Cruise is lacking. I didn’t think so. They are movie stars. They are nice to look at and they do have mega-watt smiles. Just because there’s isn’t a sex scene in the film doesn’t mean they didn’t have chemistry.

And yeah there are plot holes galore. But so what? Director James Mangold earned his money, As did Cruise and Diaz.

I think as a piece of summer entertainment, or a fall entertainment, if you wait for the DVD, the film succeeds. It’s not perfect, but they did spend a bundle in producing it. And if it doesn’t quite fit exactly into a niche called action/comedy, nor is it really Bondian, nor is it truly Bournesque, it has enough elements from those films, as well thrills and excitement to keep you in your seats for the entire 110 minutes.

When you leave the theater you will feel satisfied. Which is what you want.

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