"Tom Cruise remains one of the biggest stars and 'Knight and Day' is the latest example." – Movie Review

Despite repeated bashings in the media, Tom Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in the world. While his image took hits due to what some called bizarre behavior (couch jumping) his appeal to audiences hasn't seen much of an effect. It would be easy to point to his time as a United Artists movie executive and the modest flop “Lions For Lambs” as symbols of Cruise's slipping star power.

For that narrative to fit however you have to ignore his next film “Valkyrie,” a real dog of a movie that cruised past 200 million dollars at the worldwide box office. The fact is, as much as so many in the media seem to want to write him off, Tom Cruise remains one of the last true movie stars and his new movie “Knight and Day” co-starring Cameron Diaz and directed by James Mangold is ready to prove it once again.

In “Knight and Day” Tom Cruise plays Ray Miller, a super spy on the run with a much sought after item. What this item is doesn't really matter. What matters is that he has it and others want it. Ray needs to catch a flight for Boston and aware that he's being followed he takes advantage of a fellow Boston traveler, June Havens. Stashing his hidden item in her bags and then recollecting it after slipping through security, Ray had hoped he'd seen the last of this beautiful but innocent woman.

No such luck however. The bad guys assume she's with Roy and soon she too must go on the run with Ray and the McGuffin. For the uninitiated, the McGuffin is a Hitchcock creation; it's a plot device motivating characters from one scene to the next with their desire to capture the coveted McGuffin. In “Knight and Day” it's some all-powerful battery, in “Casablanca” it was letters of transit, in “Pulp Fiction” a suitcase filled with gold. You get the point the McGuffin doesn't really matter.

What does matter? Setting up two clever, charming, attractive characters and allowing them to be clever, charming and attractive as stuff blows up real good all around them. Director James Mangold is well aware of the formula and sets about staging massive chase scenes and explosions while relying on Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz to charm the audience into not caring about the obvious lack of originality and invention.

“Knight and Day” is nothing more than a very typical summer action movie but it gets past the been there, done that factor thanks to a pair of leads who know how to push an audience’s buttons. Cruise is all smiles and splendid, comical calm amidst the chaos of “Knight and Day” while Cameron Diaz is gorgeously goofy delivering her magical combination of beauty and gangly slapstick.

Both Cruise and Diaz are all charm and “Knight and Day” succeeds as both an action movie and a comedy because of the clever ways each star holds the screen by reminding us how much we've always liked them. Who cares about how much of “Knight and Day” is derivative of other action comedies? Those movies didn't have Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

Haters be damned, Tom Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in the world and “Knight and Day” is only the latest example.


Sean Patrick Kernan is a film critic. Check him out at: http://www.myspace.com/number1ramjamfan. Email Sean at sean@zoiksonline.com.

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Anonymous said...

I love Tom Cruise movies such as The Firm, The Last Samurai, Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Collateral, Mission Impossible, Valkyrie and many others. The trailer for Knight and Day looks awesome. I'm sure it's gonna be quite a ride. I won't miss it.

Anonymous said...

Tom's a great comedian!! Even though some may take him too seriously, I'm looking forward to Knight Time.

Anonymous said...

Valkyrie barely made 200 million not sure where the author got it"cruised" past it. This film looks awful Cruise is nothing more than a D-lister fit for nothing but being tabloid fodder. There are many many far superior actors than Cruise that is obviously why Tom is left with crap films like. Fox must be shaking in their shoes, they won't even give this turkey a decent premiere for fear of bad reviews and are pushing positive reviews before the opening in the lame attempt to boost it's appeal. Pathetic

Sean Patrick Kernan said...

Wow. Really? 200 million dolllars is not enough money for you? Really? What did your last film make? Dude, I live in Iowa. I've never met a studio executive. I saw the film, I liked the film. No conspiracy here. You're free to not like Tom Cruise, that's your prerogative but why do you care? Why do you feel the need to express your dislike? All I did was see a movie, like a movie, like the star of the movie and wrote a positive review. Why do you care so much whether Tom Cruise is 'd-lister' or he's the biggest star in the world? What effect does this have on your life. I get why I feel the way I do, I saw the movie. I don't understand the hatred? I don't get you man.

Anonymous said...

tom cruise rocks ,he is the biggest,johnny depp is media made,tom cruise is great coz of what he is,whereas johnny depp is successful for past four years only because pirates series and media.tommy is back with a bang with knight and day.go watch it

Anonymous said...

hey genius, valkyrie made 200 million worldwide. do your research before you whine like a little girl.

i just want to watch movies and don't care if these people mess up their personal lives.

i cant wait for this movie.

Anonymous said...

Finally, an intelligent review, and my sentiments exactly. I love that Tom Cruise is always putting it out there for the audience. He doesn't care what people think as much as he cares about who he makes movies for. I'm going to love this film. And hate all you want, I saw Lions For Lambs, very good film, especially Michael Pena. And Valkrie, twice I tried to get in the theater on Xmas Day, not a seat to be found. I was really upset because I love to go to the movies on Xmas Day and I had my heart set on it. I wish Tom Cruise would make a movie every 6 months like Angelina Jolie does. Where does that woman find the time? :)

Anonymous said...

lol you couldn't of been more wrong if you were Rosie O'donell