Tom Cruise stars as Roy Miller, a CIA agent who may or may not have gone rogue, but who’s nonetheless on the run from his former partner, Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard, turning in a trademark creepy-villain performance), and the director of the agency (Viola Davis) because he’s in possession of “the Zephyr,” a tiny but astounding perpetual-energy battery capable of powering a small city. When June Havens (Cameron Diaz), an ordinary gal who restores classic cars, accidentally crosses paths with Roy, she promptly winds up fully entangled in his mess-pionage.
Soon, the two strangers are trading quips and eluding the Feds – via planes, trains, automobiles and motorcycles – in a bid to keep the Zephyr from falling into the wrong hands. Namely, the hands belonging to all the bad people, including Fitzgerald and an international arms dealer (Jordi Mollà), who would love to sell the device to the highest ne’er-do-well bidders for huge sums of money. Not surprisingly, plenty of things go awry as Roy and June try to keep themselves alive and, later, do their best to protect the Zephyr’s geeky young inventor (Paul Dano).
Though it’s nothing groundbreaking in terms of plot or character, Knight and Day still works just fine and is genuinely entertaining. Cruise plays to his strengths here, reworking some of his old Top Gun cockiness and sass, and mixing it with a little Mission: Impossible heroism and Jerry Maguire smarts. Roy is charming and clever and, most importantly, likeable. Similarly, Diaz’s June is sort of a goofy everywoman – equal parts tomboy and damsel and seductress and ass-kicker. She’s endearing and gutsy and holds her own with Roy despite being a complete novice. Together, they make for a highly watchable pair with believable chemistry.
Aside from assorted colorful locales – including Spain and Austria – the film features some impressive stunt work, especially on Cruise’s part, peppered amidst numerous chase sequences and shootouts. The proceedings never really slow down enough to create lulls, which works well, and the spirited banter between Roy and June keeps everything appropriately breezy.
Part romantic-comedy, part high-octane action, this easily digested film is ideal fare for the season. Again, it’s a summertime action-comedy so it’s graded on a curve. It’s fun, it’s funny and left me smiling.