Saturday, July 31, 2010

Knight and Day

Given that I'm about three weeks ahead on blog posts, when I say that "today" we went to see Knight and Day, I mean back on July 10th. I was expecting a light-hearted, goofy, funny action movie, and that's precisely what I got.

Some of the reviews have been pretty scathing. Some people seem to want to treat it as an action movie and then grouse about plot holes. About half of those complaints are simply people not getting all the twists and turns. For instance (and don't worry about the spoiler, it's from the first ten minutes of the movie), the plane that the characters board is supposed to be fully booked yet ends up almost entirely empty; this is a significant plot point, and is discussed in the film, and yet it's actually listed on the IMDb goofs page as a plot hole and several reviews I've seen make a lot of hay out of it.

The other half are intentional things that reflect the comic element of the movie. Again, don't worry about this spoiler: at a few points, an implausible sequence of action-movie nonsense is replaced with a montage of blurry shots because one of the characters has been drugged. This isn't a cop-out; it's very much a joke at the expense of the genre itself. That's not to say that every joke and metajoke works perfectly, but most of them do, and in any case, a criticism that says it's a bad action movie element misses the point that it's not an action movie element at all.

Reviews that got the joke were generally kinder, but a few found the jokes tired and worn. Certainly, there's not much we haven't seen before in some form, but that doesn't mean they're not funny. A particularly good sequence involving a truth serum is reminiscent of True Lies yet also very different, for instance.

That said, even when the plot twists and action sequences aren't intentionally spoofy, there are still bits of plot that don't bear examination. A few of the jokes are a bit flat. This is not going to be a movie we'll be talking about in ten years, or even two years. But it's definitely a movie that's enough fun to justify going to see it. It has some great action sequences (there's some car chase stuff near the end that's particularly effective) and a lot of great laughs (not all of which have been telegraphed in the trailer). It's also a bit unusual for action movies these days for the plot twists to require a little thinking to piece them together -- usually they're handed to you in a nicely wrapped package.

Of course if you can't see Tom Cruise without gnashing your teeth and saying "Tom Cruise Tom Cruise hate hate hate" then you probably won't be able to enjoy this. Never had that problem myself. Don't really care what a jerk he is off-camera, any more than I feel a need to find out if the guy who made my dinner plate was a jerk.

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