Knight and Day
– for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language.
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: June 23, 2010
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 30, 2010 (Amazon.com)
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in this romantic action comedy, in which a chance encounter thrusts a woman and a charming but lethal operative into a series of adventures across the globe. As if dodging assassins and uncovering world-changing secrets weren’t enough, she must now figure out if he is a good guy, a traitor – or just plain crazy. (from Movieweb.com)
Knight and Day isn’t the first movie released this year to try to be a little bit of everything for everyone. Director James Mangold – best known for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line and the western remake 3:10 To Yuma, but also did the romantic comedy Kate & Leopold and the ultra creepy thriller, Identity – helms this movie-star-driven romantic action comedy about a girl who gets mixed up with a mysterious spy while trying to fly home for her sister’s wedding. Mangold has proven he’s a pretty good director for many different genres, and this time, he tries to give the ladies a romance film that will entertain their fellas as well. Tom Cruise has proven through a slew of action films (including all three Mission:Impossible movies, Minority Report and even The Last Samurai) that he’s not just a pretty boy, so taking on the role as a more-than-able spy (and clearly doing his own stunts here as usual) is really just another film for him. Cameron Diaz serves as his leading lady this time. And although some might expect a younger, more glamourous costar for Cruise, Diaz’s comedic talents work well to complement Cruise’s (and with her nearing 40, she makes a better match age-wise too). Together, Cruise and Diaz actually show a pretty good on-screen chemistry, and the tone of the film harkens back a bit to the classic film days of the screwball comedy… with a modern day action film twist.
Knight and Day certainly isn’t for everyone. From the beginning, there’s an off-beat feel to it. Anyone looking for a well-grounded, serious drama, action film, or romantic comedy won’t find such here. In fact, the tone is pretty comparable to Mangold’s own Kate & Leopold, just with a heavy dose of action thrown in. It’s almost as if Mission:Impossibe III and Kate & Leopold got married and had a kid. Knight and Day does a wonderful job mixing the genres together to form a light-hearted, albeit contrived, romp. It’s a fast-paced adventure film that doesn’t take itself very seriously and hopes you won’t either. Characters are frequently leaping from ledges or to and from moving vehicles without nary a scratch, but it fits within the kind of movie Knight and Day is and not what it’s pretending to be. Mangold, Cruise, and Diaz obviously signed on to have fun, and they seem to make no apologies for it. And to be frank, they really don’t have a reason to be sorry. It’s nearly two hours of mindless entertainment that fans of thrills and well orchestrated fight scenes – all done while the tongue is firmly planted within the cheek – so it’s difficult not to get swept along for the ride. Much like this summer’s A-Team big screen adaptation, Knight and Day “specializes in the ridiculous” and does it very well.
Speaking of The A-Team film released just two weeks prior to Knight and Day: while that film consisted of mind-numbing action and frequent use of an assortment of profanities and blasphemy, Knight and Day holds back from getting too carried away in that department. In comparison, this film is nearly clean when it comes to language, save for one pretty emphatic “F” word uttered by a flustered June Havens (played by Diaz) and a handful of “S” words (a few of which are just barely audible). In addition, Diaz utters two uses of “Chr-st,” while also using “Oh my g-d” a few times. Overall, the language could have still been toned down even further (it always can be), but especially the single “F” word was unnecessary and felt awkward when it was used. Otherwise, violence is the other major concern. Cruise’s mysterious character Roy Miller is well trained in being able to knock an enemy off their feet with a few blows or a quick burst from a pistol or machine gun, and we see quite a few scenes involving cars flying across the road, falling from moving cars or trains, etc. The violence is PG-13 material all the way, but with only a few instances being moderately graphic. We see a brief glimpse (that is not focused on) of a person with a bloody bullet wound on their forehead, a bloody cut on Miller’s side, and some blood on people’s clothing after being stabbed or shot. The very worst of these examples is when a villain is stabbed in the chest and shown slowly pulling the large knife out (due to Diaz’s response to seeing this, it’s sort of played for laughs). Otherwise, most of the violence is kept from getting too explicit in detail.
Knight and Day won’t appease fans of dramas or either of the leading actors’ serious material, so only those looking for a fun time of entertainment that doesn’t make you think – but might keep you guessing who the good guys and bad guys are – should check this one out. It’s nice to see Mangold take another shot at comedy, and he does a valiant effort here mixing the genres up. Knight and Day is the kind of movie that The Bounty Hunter (the abysmal rom com from earlier this year) seemed to try to be but just didn’t know how to pull off. So if you can forgive a slightly contrived plot with over-the-top action and circumstances with a tendency to wink at the audience throughout the whole crazy ride, then Knight and Day is just the kind of movie for you.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 6/24/10)
Blu-Ray Special Features Review
I’ll be honest and say that since seeing this film in the theaters, I was looking forward to seeing it again when it released to Blu-Ray. After seeing it again, I can also say that I found it just as enjoyable on the second viewing. Knight and Day has the look and feel of an action comedy and the tone of an old-time screwball comedy, all while still being a fun action flick. The movie never really takes itself too seriously, so the over-the-top action that happens throughout the movie is delivered smartly in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way.
The movie is available as a standard DVD release, a DVD/Blu-Ray “Holiday Gift Pack,” and my favorite – the Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital Copy 3-Disc combo pack. This is a review of the latter…
Wilder Knights and Crazier Days (12:30) – The first behind-the-scenes featurette focuses on the purpose of the movie: to just be fun! From that intro, we’re given a look at the planning and execution of some of the major action sequences of the movie. We hear from all of the central actors, especially Diaz, Cruise, and director James Mangold as they walk us through the highway car chase, the airplane fight, rooftop chase, and the motorcycle chase. The highlight is hearing Cruise give a detailed story of filming being chased by bulls while on a motorcycle with Diaz. This is the longest of the featurettes and the most revealing when it comes to the stuntwork. It kind of whets the appetite for more but doesn’t go as in-depth as one might expect it to. However, it’s still a fun watch.
Boston Days and Spanish Knights (8:10) focuses on the locations of the film and goes into what it was like to shoot in each individual location. The crew and cast talk about filming in Boston, Austria, Spain and Jamaica and their experiences that helped bring a fantastical element to the movie.
Knight and “Someday” featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Tom Cruise (9:09) – Tom Cruise had asked the Black Eyed Peas to do a song for Knight and Day and this video follows Tom as he goes to meet the band back stage (along with his wife Katie Holmes) and then as he talks with them about how they met, how Cruise decided the band should write the song and how the band got inspired for the song. There is then some live footage from the concert that night in London, with Tom joining them on stage for an impromptu moment. The footage is only visual, however, as none of the BEP’s music is heard. Instead, John Powell’s score from the film is played over the footage. Afterwards, there is footage of the band debuting a recording of “Someday” at a special London afterparty with Cruise joining them.
Viral Videos: Soccer and Kick – There were two little “viral” videos that appeared on the internet this summer. They’re staged on-set snippets that look real, but are really just meant to produce a little grassroots buzz. The first is made to look like a camera is shooting random stuff on set when they stumble on Cruise and Diaz volleying a soccer back and forth doing some incredible tricks in the process. The second video shows Diaz performing kicks to a training pad that a stunt man is holding. When she’s not kicking hard enough, Cruise steps in, with the pad in hand, and starts taking her kicks. Thinking she’s finished, he lowers the pad, looking away smiling when she “accidentally” delivers another kick to his chest, sending him flying. It’s the better of the two videos and pretty funny.
Knight and Day: Story (3:50) – This one is a promo video for the film, giving a rundown of the story and then delving into the characters a little bit. It’s interesting to note that there’s a very brief snippet of deleted dialog from June in this video.
Knight and Day: Scope (3:05) – This is another promo video for the movie which gives a rundown of the idea for the film, the size of the action, stunts, the Black Eyed Peas song, etc. There’s another brief deleted piece of dialog from the film in this video too. Both videos have a little bit of reused footage from the earlier featurettes and almost feel like an abridged version of the earlier making-of featurettes.
BD Live – After the promo videos, just the Theatrical Trailer and a how-to on transporting your digital copy remain. But in addition to the on-disc extras are the “BD Live” extras. These can only be viewed by a player enabled for BD Live and, unfortunately, it’s streaming conent and not content directly on the disc.
Overall, the Blu-Ray treatment of Knight and Day looks and sounds great and offers a few bonus features to take you a little bit further into the “How’d they DO that?!” aspect of making the film. Unfortunately, they probably could have gone much, much further with the behind-the-scenes content (I remember Cruises’ Mission:Impossible II DVD having a really thorough breakdown of each stunt he performed and how they did it. I would have loved to have seen something like that here), but what’s included is still a lot of fun and help give viewers a deeper appreciation for what the filmmakers were aiming for with this movie.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 12/2/10)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: None. We see June in a bikini after waking up from being drugged and finding herself in the caribbean. She asks Roy how she got into the bikini and he insists that he could have changed her without looking, but jokes that he can’t promise he didn’t (later, a similar joke is made again); Under the influence of a truth serum, June tells Roy that she feels like she’d like to have sex and then comments that she thinks he’d be great. Roy stares at her in disbelief and asks if she was given any drugs and tells her to drink water to dilute the effects
Vulgarity/Language: 1 “f” word, 9 “s” words, 3 “h*ll,” 2 “Chr-st,” 1 “b*tch,” 3 “G-d”
Alcohol/Drugs: June is drugged a couple times by Roy to keep her out of harm’s way. We later see Roy get drugged as well
Blood/Gore: During a shootout on an airplane, we briefly see a man with a bloody bullet wound on his forehead; Roy has a bloody scratch on his side after being shot there (we see his torso with his shirt off and the graze mark on it); We see a little bit of blood on the pants of a man’s leg after he’s been shot there; We see some blood on the clothing around a knife sticking out of a man’s back; A man is stabbed with a large kitchen knife in the chest. We then see him slowly pull it out of his chest (from different angles so we don’t see it too graphically) and see some blood on his chest and on the knife as it’s being pulled out; Roy has some blood coming from his nose during a fight; We see blood on a man’s shirt after he’s been shot
Violence: While on an airplane, everyone begins attacking Roy, who defends himself by either killing (usually via shooting) his attackers or causing them to shoot each other. He proceeds to fist fight them, even beating a guy up with a seatbelt; There’s a pretty physical fight in a train kitchen (which starts when the cook is stabbed) and Roy gets thrown around quite a bit. A hitman is then stabbed in the chest, which he pulls out and lunges at his victims, but is kicked through a window (and killed by a passing train); We see cars flipping on a highway, causing various accidents (more than once during the movie) and some people are shot to death through car windows, killed in car accidents, etc; A group of thugs attack Roy and June in a warehouse, but Roy guns most of them down. June panics while holding a machine gun and fires wildly (played for laughs); Roy shoots a man in the leg to get him out of harm’s way; A man is chased across a rooftop, while being fired upon, and is presumably riddled with bullets; An island is attacked by a jet of some kind, firing missiles on it as it chases two people; a helicopter explodes, killing the guys inside; and other action violence