“Knight and Day” is Tom Cruise‘s first movie since the 2008 World War II thriller “Valkyrie” — and arguably the first real “Tom Cruise movie” since “Mission: Impossible III” in 2006.
As such, it’s getting more scrutiny than your average summer action movie might, with questions about whether Cruise is still the eminently bankable star he’s been for much of his career. Moviegoers will determine that over the course of the next few weeks, but there’s also the question of whether the movie, in which he plays a spy opposite Cameron Diaz‘s caught-up-in-the-action regular gal, is any good.
The answer from the critics is, “Yes and no.” At the time of this posting, “Knight and Day” is scoring a 53 on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning reviewers are just about equally split on its quality. Here’s a sampling of the reviews.
“The character of Roy Miller is so quintessentially Cruise-ian that he skirts the edges of self-conscious parody. He’s an indestructible superspy who’s bottomlessly cheerful and yet vaguely malevolent.” — Dana Stevens, Slate
“If you doubt Cruise’s skills in the star department, ‘Knight and Day’ should make you a believer. It’s hardly a perfect film, not even close, but it is the most entertaining made-for-adults studio movie of the summer.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“There’s never been a particularly crisp line between intense, SUPER-AWESOME Tom Cruise and the characters he plays. In ‘Knight and Day,’ his age-old cool curdles into motormouthed neediness.” — Dan Kois, Village Voice
“The structural sameness is balanced by genuinely witty action sequences that also create a rooting interest. The banter is fairly diverting, too, especially as delivered by actors who are naturally funny.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“The plot doesn’t twist or turn so much as link one poorly orchestrated action set piece to the next. Throughout it all, Cruise doesn’t allow even the single bead of sweat that dropped in ‘Mission: Impossible’ to escape his pores.” — Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
“Cruise’s Roy engages in many feats of derring-do, leaping from rooftop to rooftop and executing crazy bike jumps. But the results are curiously unthrilling, and it’s hard not to wonder what the picture would be like with another male star.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline
“Whatever the sins of the movie … [they] are for the most part softened by Cruise’s assured performance. An underrated actor, Cruise gives Roy the confidence a man who is willing to leap from a speeding motorcycle onto the hood of a speeding car in the middle of a freeway would surely need. … Either that or he really is crazy. Works either way.” — Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
“The wonder is that Cruise and Diaz are effective enough in their roles that they’re not overwhelmed by all the commotion surrounding them. They make the movie work because they cheerfully project that they know it’s utter nonsense and pitch in to enjoy the fun.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
credit: 20th Century Fox