Hollywood in the 30s and 40s was famous for an assembly line
of films, with a director often making three to four films a year. Despite this,
the originality and creativity of those times have never been matched.
Though filmmaking became more personal and the director was seen as an `auteur` at par with any other artist, the creativity that was sacrosanct in those early films, is matched by the opposite today - overcooked clichés. The latest Hollywood big-budget, big-star action flick "Knight and Day" is proof of that.
June (Cameron Diaz) is a average girl whose life takes a twist for the bizarre after she meet Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) who tells her he is an agent gone rogue but only to protect a kid who has invented the only perpetual energy source after the sun. Obviously, when it comes to power, the powerful would not be far behind in trying to acquire it by hook or crook. Trying to catch Roy, and now June, are federal agents and the assassins of a European arms dealer.
What follows is a "Mission Impossible" style chase set in different parts of the world, mostly Europe, unbelievable stunts, but sadly written dialogues and plot twists lacking any wit.
And the clichés just keep pouring. Consider even the name of the lead, Roy Miller. It is the same name Matt Damon`s character had in "Green Zone". It makes you wonder whether Hollywood has gone the Bollywood way, remember the multiple Prem and Raj in Hindi films.
Then there is the damsel in distress played by Cameron Diaz. Now where have we seen that before? Oh yes, in almost all Hollywood films. Tom Cruise plays the knight in, well not shining armour, but a shining package of stunts.
In many ways, the film is a funnier version of the "Mission Impossible" series minus, of course, the originality, twists and witty dialogue writing.
What you instead have, is a hackneyed plot, dialogues, settings and even the mystery that is predictable. Having said that, however, the film has its funny moments and the stunts are watchable as well.
In short, you have a very safe, no-brainer film that keeps you engaged for the duration but fails to do anything more.
It is hard to imagine why after the Oscar winner "Walk The Line" in 2005 and a restrained and refined piece of filmmaking in "3:10 to Yuma" - a remake of a classic western in 2007 - James Mangold would stoop down to directing something as tasteless as this. But that`s Hollywood for you. It manages to break the best.
If you don`t mind clichés or can tolerate the predictable, scientology mumbling freak that Cruise has become from a once decent actor, go for this absolutely safe trip.