Summer Blockbuster Preview: Knight And Day

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz join forces once more for this summer's action flick, Knight And Day. Here's our preview...

What is it?

Bear with me on this one.

June Havens is unlucky in love until she has a blind date with the charismatic Roy Miller, who’s ever so slightly unhinged. They part ways with June little realising what she’s just been party to, until he tracks her down in a café.

It turns out Miller was, until very recently, the most trusted secret agent at America’s disposal. Now he drags June along as he goes globe-trotting on the run from his bosses, trying to protect a battery with the capacity to be an infinite power source.

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The trailers look to be trying to tap the same audience as Mr. And Mrs. Smith, but ostensibly the plot is more similar to Charade, which also had that espionage romance angle and similarly combined two big stars in the form of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

Who’s Behind It?

Well, that’s where it gets just a little tricky. The film started out about five years ago as Wichita, when it was going to star Adam Sandler. He eventually pulled out saying, “I just don’t see me with a gun.” Then it became Trouble Man, starring Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes. No, really.

Now the final product reunites Vanilla Sky stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the lead roles, with the former presumably looking for the kind of box office hit he hasn’t really had since the rather excellent Mission Impossible III. From the trailers at least, it looks as though he’s found a suitable channel for his charismatic insanity.

James Mangold, he of Walk The Line and the 3:10 To Yuma remake, is at the helm, with Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Grace, Paul Dano and Viola Davis rounding out a surprisingly versatile cast. Even if they can’t nail down who wrote the thing, there seems to be a fair bit of talent on board.

Why Should We Watch It?

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And here it gets even trickier. If you’re reading this without having ever heard of it or seen any trailers, it’s probably a hard sell.

As mentioned, though, the trailers for this thing are pretty damn good, and they seem to be utilising Tom Cruise in just the right way, just as Kick-Ass correctly utilised Nicolas Cage for what felt like the first time in about a decade. For people who liked him in Tropic Thunder, this can be seen as a delivery on the promise of his memorable cameo in that film.

I’m personally happy to see Cruise doing something different, as I have difficulties taking him seriously on screen a lot of the time. The majority of film fans clearly agree, given how Cruise used to be the king of the box office and yet his real-life indiscretions in recent years seem to have made him a lot less bankable. Regardless of that, I was sold the minute I saw Cruise pointing a gun at some bewildered diners and proclaiming, “Nobody follow us, or I kill myself, then her.”

In addition to that, we should be very intrigued to see how this turns out. In vast contrast to the sequels out this summer, many of which got release dates set before scripts or actors’ contracts were finalised, this has gone through a long and fraught process on its way to the screen.

Speaking of those other films, it is opening in a very competitive arena, Stateside. It opens alongside the frankly shit-looking Grown Ups (starring former prospective Miller, Adam Sandler, coincidentally) and will be ambushed a week later by M. Night Shyamalan’s 3D-embellished The Last Airbender and the latest cuddly sub-Mills and Boon Twilight film, Eclipse.

Going by the trailers for all of these films, I’d say Knight And Day probably deserves to carve out a sizable audience, especially with the other detritus splattering onto screens that fortnight.

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One caveat – in the course of five years of development, this was the best title they could come up with? Knight And Day?What the hell does it even mean? Well, Mangold, Cruise and distributors 20th Century Fox aren’t talking about the plot in interviews, but have promised a fair few twists the audience won’t expect. Maybe one of them will justify that seemingly fruitless pun?

Whether it all turns out to be a massive marketing sleight of hand or not, Knight And Day actually looks to be a fun, action-packed romcom with a capable director at the helm and a respectable roster of actors at its disposal. Basically, everything that The Bounty Hunter wasn’t, then.

US release date: June 25thUK release date: July 2nd