Dir. James Mangold. USA. 2010.

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Now, I have seen this film. And I have read reviews of it before I have seen it. And reviews of it since I have seen it, thanks in no part to it American release almost a month before it was released here.  When I saw it under the stars at Somerset House last week, I was pleased to have seen it. To have seen an action film or a film that entertains me I feel somewhat conflicted - should I say that the film is enjoyable in parts, but with its obvious flaws; but is it worth mentioning the flaws when every other reviewer is quick to dismiss the film and lampoon its earnestness for as a vanity project that is well off the mark.
The film has its flaws from the title to the unusual choice of director to odd casting in supporting roles, and some real clunkers in terms of location shooting to god awful CGI in the car chase sequences, of which there are too many.
The film revolves around rogue agent Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) who happens to bump into June Havens (Cameron Diaz) on a flight from Wichita, Kansas to Boston. Miller is a rogue agent who is trying to keep the 'bad guys' of the CIA from gaining the macguffin he has in his possession, using June as a mule he has to keep her on his side as a flight full of agents attempt to capture him causing the plane to crash and Miller administering his first Rohypenol on June so she stays safe (I presume).
The agents catch up with June, which leads to Roy saving her from the predicament and every time she runs away there is Roy like a dark knight in shining armour, but for June not the one she wants to see.  Roy is made out to be a crackpot and a crackshot, but it is this madness that makes them buddies in a would be buddy movie - that takes in America, Austria, a secluded island, Spain on its travels.
This is where the problems start to come, but this is also indicative of action films in recent years - globetrotting in this time of global recession, a window of the world through the window of an airplane. (Blame Bourne who criss crosses Europe, which led to 'Quantum of Solace' giving you a headache with its making the world move faster)
The premise should be so simple - the buddies have to keep something from the bad guys as they are on the run, all the time; it comes unstuck in its execution flipping from the genuine sexual chemistry of Cruise/Diaz to an action film that is all about action but a bit throwaway. Bad guys get killed, but we do not see them as they have their faces covered meaning we do not mind this - but at times it can be so friviolous.  It is not my belief that this is Cruise wanting to maintain touch with the young guns (a la Damon, Di Caprio) but doing a film that he is more than capable of carrying, it appears he can do this and maybe Mangold a dab hand at drama with 'Walk the Line' and after '3.10 to Yuma' this was the next step up, but doing a legitimate star vehicle seems one step too far for a still talented individual.
I do not want to do a disservice to the film; it is quite affectionate in its tributes to the Hitchcock motifs - the plane crash lands into a cornfield (North by Northwest), a macguffin that is ultimately useless, double crosses, the sexual playfulness, the empowerment of a female character due to a pressurised situation and even Hitchcock would travel in his movies.  However, in this age of franchises and sequels and prequels, it was pleasing to watch a film that is what it is, a one-off.  There will be no sequel, there is no backstory to either character to explore. And to use a word I used earlier in my review, it is a throwaway - you will watch it, laugh when you are meant to laugh, be exhilarated by the action sequences and marvel at the dental surgery work in Hollywood.  Perfect weekend viewing for us mere mortals.
Jamie Garwood

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