Saturday, January 22, 2022

Cruise Control



From the opening bars of the background music it’s clear that “Knight and Day” is not serious. Rather, it is a spoof of just about every secret agent/thriller-diller/action movie ever made. Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) is a teaspoon of James Bond (the Sean Connery and Daniel Craig editions), a tablespoon of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a dash of Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) and a soupcon of countless other heroes, including MacGyver.

Roy is pursued by (a) foreign agents, anxious to get their mitts on a new, tiny, incredibly powerful battery that will shake the world; (b) a secret government agency (CIA, anyone?) that thinks Roy has gone rogue and; (c) a devilishly clever agent of the U.S. agency (Peter Sarsgaard) who is in league with the foreign agents for his own selfish motives.

Roy is a master of all tricks:  he can place a single bullet with exquisite precision; out-fight anyone – or three or four – in hand-to-hand combat; drive cars and motorcycles like a combination of Dale Earnhardt and Evel Knievel; take over controls of an airplane to make a superb crash landing in a crop field; and even disassemble a bomb in the dark with only a safety pin. All the while he has time to flash the famous Tom Cruise grin.

In the course of all this, he runs into – literally – June Havens (Cameron Diaz) who’s adorable, charming and useful. She also turns out to be pretty good in a bikini on a tiny tropical island, a la one of Bond’s stable of lookers. June teams up with him, by necessity, as bad guys all over the world wildly pursue them. Since the U.S. believes Roy is unstable, untrustworthy and probably fattening, June is suspicious at first. But Roy saves her over and over again, while turning on his incredible charm. He also has the unmitigated gall, at age 47, to doff his shirt to show off his super-bod.

Diaz plays June with the right mixture of awe, naiveté and fright, while learning martial arts, shooting and driving under Roy’s expert tutelage. Throw in the goofy guy who invents the battery (Paul Dano), a lot of stunt men and the spoof is complete.

In order to enjoy this movie the viewer should (1) suspend his disbelief, (2) suspend her disbelief, (3) enjoy the scenery – natural and human, and (4) sit back and relax for a couple of hours. It’s fun.

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