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AM’s 2010 Summer Movie Preview Supplemental: ‘Killers’ v. ‘Knight and Day’

2010/06/10

I’m going to break out for a second to take a closer look at an event coming down in June of some monumental importance:  the first time in recent memory that the same movie has been released twice in the same month.

I speak, or course, of Killers and Knight and Day, and in an effort to help you decide which one is right for you, we’re going to look at the tale of the tape.  Here’s the trailers at Apple, to get you up to speed, should you feel the need:  Killers     KnightAndDay

Apparent Plot: (Both) A debonair and rakish super-spy assassin kidnaps and/or woos a goofy blonde who ain’t never seen a gun before, and they then engage in a series of wacky hijinks, explosions, romance and excessive violence.   Presumably in pursuit of love.  Advantage: Even

Leading Male: K: Ashton Kutcher, who I have no problem with really, other than making me wish I was better-looking and also the single luckiest man to ever step foot in an Iowa City bar.  He doesn’t work much, but he’s likable enough, I suppose. KaD:  Tom Cruise, who I once had a similar attitude about, until an entire decade of behavior that would have resulted in a normal citizen ending up a) medicated, b) homeless, c) shunned, or d) all of the above.  And unfortunately, that still hovers over him no matter what he does, which means anything he does gets prefaced with thoughts about Tom, the guy, as opposed to Tom’s performance.  That’s just kills most everything he’s in anymore for me, no pun intended.  Advantage: Killers

Leading Female:  K: Katherine Heigl, whose complete absence of funny has ironically resulted in her repeated casting in comedies.  No thank you.  KaD: Cameron Diaz, who, as much as I hate to say it, is looking sorta worn-down the last couple of years – perhaps the lack of anything remotely resembling a successful movie is dimming the spark in her eyes, I don’t know.  But I’m rooting for you, Cam.  Advantage: Knight and Day, just because it’s not the one with Katherine Heigl.

Supporting Cast: K: Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Rob Riggle, Martin Mull, Alex Borstein and Usher.  KaD: Maggie Grace, Peter Saarsgard, Paul Dano, Marc Blucas.  Advantage: Are you kidding me?  That’s not even close.  Tom Selleck alone trumps that hodgepodge of ‘folks you probably recognize from something’ in KaD, but then they stacked the deck with O’Hara, Riggle and Mull?  Killers, all y’all.

Special Effects/Stunts: K: looks like basic broken windows/car chase/one explosion fare. KaD: First off, there’s a jet firing missiles at them, then there’s that awesome looking motorcycle scene, and several more explosions, and Cruise being swung upside down like a pendulum that he will unfortunately escape.  Advantage: Knight and Day

Bantering: K:  Looks like some saucy back-and-forth going on here, kids!  Since this is really just a romantic comedy with blow-em-ups, I have to say that’s a plus.  KaD: From what I can see, Tom Cruise mostly seems to be playfully bantering with everyone and everything – Cameron, a cop he shoots, his motorcycle, a coffee cup.  This is confusing.  I’m not sure Cameron has any lines. Advantage: Killers, even though it’s Heigl, the female lead really does need to have a conversational on-screen relationship with the male lead that is equivalent or greater than the male’s interest and active engagement with all the surrounding props, crew and his own frantic gestures.

Title:  K:  Killers KaD:  Knight and Day  Advantage: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Outlook: There’s really no chance I’m going to pay to see either one of these in a theater.  I will say that prognosis is high that I will rent Killers or move it to the top of my Netflix queue the week it comes out, while Knight and Day will likely hover at the #6 spot for two-to-three months, continually being held in place by newer releases that pique my interest more, until finally I watch twenty minutes of it on TNT and fall asleep in a chair.

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