Admit it. You have already had your first pumpkin spice latte of the year. It’s just October, but you’re already thinking about Christmas break, aren’t you? Hey, I get it. When the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, you can’t help but start thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving turkey. But it also means that Oscar movie season is right around the corner. So is “Hugely Popular Movie Franchise” season.
But we aren’t going to talk about any of that. This month, we are going to explore a genre of movies I made up called “Accidental Agent” films. You’ve seen a movie like this. It is where one of the main characters runs into someone who is a cop or a secret agent. This agent gets our main character caught up in something big that is completely outside of his or her everyday experiences and yet, of course, they excel in it. We’re going to go with an older example and one from this year. Age before beauty.
Knight and Day (2010) [PG-13]
I was fairly certain this was going to be bad. Real bad. I mean, check out the trailer. Not encouraging, right? Look at the poster. Doesn’t really make you want to spend your hard earned money to see it, does it?
But the director, James Mangold, is the same guy that directed Girl, Interrupted, Walk The Line and the pretty good but lesser known Identity. Of course, he also directed The Wolverine. But I gave it a shot.
Now, I am often accused of being too lenient in my movie reviews. “That’s way too high of a score, Collin. That was terrible.” The thing is, I’ve seen terrible movies. I mean, really awful, wish-you-had-never-been-born movies. I’m not afraid to call one out as such. But I can also give credit where credit is due.
This is a Cameron Diaz / Tom Cruise romantic comedy / action movie. I don’t expect it to be King Lear. Knight and Day is light-hearted, well-paced entertainment. The stunts are fun, if a little ridiculous. Cruise is actually kind of funny. Knight and Day isn’t going to set your world on fire, but it’s something cute you can watch when you are waiting for your buddy to show up before you go out for the evening.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some majorly bad ideas here. Part of the plot involves a perpetual energy source that can power a small city, is the size of a C battery and is referred to regrettably as the “Zephyr.” Yes, I know. There’s a good deal of nonsense in Knight and Day. But we can all use a little nonsense in our life from time to time. Also, there is a Bollywood remake of this movie from 2014 called Bang Bang. Here’s the trailer. I’ve yet to watch this, but I gotta tell you, the Bollywood version looks pretty amazing.
5.5 paws out of 10
Central Intelligence (2016) [PG-13]
In Central Intelligence, Kevin Hart plays Calvin Joyner, a former high school athlete voted Most Likely To Succeed who is now an accountant. He is contacted by someone he knew from high school who was picked on mercilessly but whom Calvin had shown kindness to. They decide to meet up and the picked on boy has transformed into Bob Stone, a ripped CIA agent played by Dwayne Johnson. As this is an “Accidental Agent” movie, you can guess that Bob gets Calvin caught up in something which he initially thinks is over his head but which he may just have a talent for.
Again, this isn’t Shakespeare, folks. But it is really entertaining. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make a surprisingly effective comedy duo, and the script is really funny. The plot doesn’t get too convoluted or ridiculous. And I would argue that Central Intelligence doesn’t suffer from the same sorts of nonsense that plague Knight and Day above. There is no “zephyr” here.
The film makers know you are here to watch these two guys riff off of each other, and they do so in fantastic fashion. It’s obvious after a few minutes that Hart and Johnson like hanging around each other. They are having fun working together, and I suspect you’ll have fun watching their work.
7 paws out of 10