Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 by Hunter Stephenson
This just in: Tom Cruise still does his own stunts and Mary Hart still thinks it’s goddamn amazing. Ever since Cruise’s romantic action comedy changed its title from the serious-sounding Wichita to the jump-out-a-castle-windowish, Knight & Day, I don’t think any of our readers have wondered, “How is that film going?” And even though the current title befits a high concept Matt LeBlanc comeback vehicle, the lack of awareness is odd since Knight is due next summer and directed by James Mangold, who can aptly do the macho-thing (3:10 to Yuma), the girl-thing (Girl, Interrupted), and in between (Walk the Line). In a Vanilla Sky reunion, Cameron Diaz co-stars with Cruise as the romantic interest. She has plenty of happy things to say about him (and the flick’s dangerous stunts with footage!) after the jump…
Like many of our readers, I too was non-plussed to see that the footage above (and the entire movie evidently) failed to live up to the knight-in-chainmail teleported to Manhattan premise conjured by the title. Instead, Cruise plays a special agent with a killer smile who goes on a blind date with an unknowing, relationship-challenged, Mid-Western woman (Diaz). As Cruise notes in the clip, “adventure ensues” when their date accelerates into a globe-trotting journey complete with “shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals” and—so timely—a highly sought epic battery that harnesses infinite power.
The backdrop of the clip is on the Massachusetts set, where the film has finished shooting and is now moving on to Spain, Austria, and then “somewhere tropical,” according to Loaded Gun Boston. I’m guessing that the footage shown of Cruise atop a moving car is the Charles River chase referenced in an earlier /Film posting. The spy plot and date-comedy tone automatically draws comparisons to True Lies and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Mangold doesn’t seem to be skimping on similarly expensive (and likely ludicrous) set pieces; there’s also a crash involving a highjacked 727.
But can audiences still buy Cruise as the everyman romantic lead, even if it’s similarly heroic in scope compared to his still-kicking Mission: Impossible franchise? A similar, less harsh question might be asked of Diaz, who recently spat out of one of Richard Kelly’s endangered wormholes with The Box (arguably the least favorably received studio movie by general audiences this year). Personally, I think Cruise is the definitive example of how the internet has gutted and morphed the notion of ’80s-’90s super stardom (also: made surnames like “Cruise” faux pas). Headlining a movie with such an unhip, ’80s-esque title is questionable, no matter the director or stunt-rock. Rounding out the cast are Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maggie Grace, all of whom are smart additions, generally speaking, but not necessarily a saving grace.