Double Feature: Knight and Day (2010) & Bang Bang (2014)

Welcome to another double feature!

This time we have a deliberate pair-up. Knight and Day was released in 2010 and is a through and through Hollywood production with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. According to Rotten Tomatoes (and a few people that I mentioned to), it isn’t really that well received. Which makes it weird that it was turned into a Bollywood film in 2014 called Bang Bang! starring familiar faces like Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, both of which I’ve seen movies of before. You’d think that I saw Knight and Day first but I actually saw Bang Bang first and then decided to give the original a shot to see how they compare.

Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano

A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name. – IMDB

Knight and Day is pretty much and action comedy with hints of romance. Its a fun ride with some awkward moments. You can never fault Tom Cruise for not delivering on action but how can we be satiated when we have the last two Mission:Impossible, right? With that said, there seems to be forced dialogue and some things that don’t always flow well along with characters that try to be deep but never quite hit the potential. It might simply be the fact that Tom Cruise has always been a cool dude so when he is doing the passive thing or saying some sarcastic or some misplaced encouragement or whatnot to Cameron Diaz’s character June, there is the rare moment that it works but mostly, it doesn’t seem to fit the character too well or maybe its because its Tom Cruise and it doesn’t fit him. Always a danger of this happening when using huge stars.

Knight and Day also has some familiar faces like a cameo by Gal Gadot. Viola Davis is the Director who is the head of the good side, aka managing the spy and her mission is to catch Roy who has gone rogue. Then you have Paul Dano who is the nerd kid who invented a powerful something that everyone is after. Possibly, the most fun is in the final act particularly after a truth serum is used. Cameron Diaz has always been a hit and miss. For example, I didn’t like Bad Teacher but I love The Holiday.

Overall, I honestly don’t have much to say about Knight and Day. Its good for a watch and it was fun and entertaining but something didn’t feel right and the more I think about it, it might just be awkward dialogue and my not seeing Tom Cruise as this character.

Or it could be that I saw the remake first…

Bang Bang (2014)

bang bang

Director: Siddharth Anand

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Pavan Malhotra, Danny Denzongpa, Javed Jaffrey, Jimmy Shergill, Vikram Gokhale

A young bank receptionist gets mixed up with Rajveer Nanda, a man who has a mysterious background. – IMDB

Some of you know that with Netflix having more foreign films, I have opened up my world slightly and slowly to Bollywood films. They do take up a ton of time but its usually a decent experience so far. I am a fan of Hrithik Roshan since Dhoom 2 (review HERE). The man is like the whole package and some and in Bang Bang, he proves that he can also be almost like Tom Cruise. Knight and Day being a Bollywood remake is the perfect fit. The corny dialogue and the serious and fun but over the top action: it works here so well. The key here is that Bang Bang keeps a tone that is very light-hearted. To be honest, the Bollywood singing and dancing parts are used quite sparsely in comparison to other films so it makes it possibly even an easily entry point for those that feel less inclined because of these usually odd transitions. I always find Bollywood musical segments appealing to watch. This one is absolutely no exception especially because both Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan got the moves.

Bang Bang only changes the story a little as in its stealing a diamond Kohinoor and that its a more personal affair than the original. At the same time, Bang Bang also remakes some of the scenes almost exactly the same. In fact, some of the dialogue is also incredibly similar. If you went into Bang Bang having already seen Knight and Day, a good at least 70% of this will look familiar. Bang Bang definitely does lack originality on that front. There is no denying it, especially in many scenes like the beach scenes where only the escape is different or how the attack was constructed. Same applies for the final scene that I loved so much in the original.

However, what Bang Bang makes up for is the charm that it has with Hrithik Roshan playing Rajveer and Katrina Kaif playing Harleen. Somehow, the music and dance and their personalities truly shine and match with this story. Its a much better fit for these characters. There is some cheesy moments but it also comes with the expectations and Bollywood films that I’ve seen tend to be structured in this way tonally. It just blends very well together with what this type of story tried to achieve. Of course, Indian cinema has changed now and there are horror films and other more dramatic entries and especially more action which is void of the whole Bollywood musical thing.

With that said, I like Bang Bang more than Knight and Day. I like Knight and Day for its finale whereas Bang Bang was much more of an overall experience.

Have you seen Knight and Day and/or Bang Bang?
Also, if you did see it, I made a little banner for this double feature. What do you think about it?

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Netflix A-Z: Ek Tha Tiger (2012)

I wrote Bollywood at the end of Netflix D selection and no one even gave it a guess. Haha! 😉

Its a sign of how popular this post will be but I decided to stick with my choice so I’ll do this review.  My goal was to mix this up so expect some more foreign selections. Maybe not another Bollywood choice since it takes me a few sittings to get through because of the length but you will see some more. This one was a little different.  I had taken a look at the genre and I’ve never watched an Indian action movie so I figured this would be a new experience. That’s how Ek Tha Tiger made this list and well, maybe its because Netflix didn’t have all that many E choices….but that is besides the point.  This is how we find surprises, right? 😉

Let’s check this out! 🙂

Ek Tha Tiger (2012)

Ek Tha Tiger

Director: Kabir Khan

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth

Tiger (Salman Khan) is among one of the best spy agents working for RAW in India.  His life is defined by one mission to the next.  This time, the mission sends him to London where he needs to only observe a scientist, Dr. Kidwai (Roshan Seth) who may be working on a new technology that might be for the Pakistani government.  However, his biggest challenge turns out that he has to try to not lose his mind and heart in the face of Dr. Kidwai’s part-time beautiful assistant, Zoya (Katrina Kaif). For someone who hasn’t been in love before, this might be harder than expected.

Ek Tha Tiger

Indian films have layers of plot and its good when it does because of their length.  It would be tough to sit through it without having some twist and that part up there is just the set-up for what is about to happen.  Okay, when certain parts happen, they seem to just be expected and staring you in the face the whole time.  Except Ek Tha Tiger does it relatively well.  Even the action sequences, while sometimes a little over the top and not quite realistic and had me going “Really?”, it was good. You also have to remember that a lot of times, a romance is truly inevitable (in any movie) and one that pulls in spies for two countries and what not.

Ek Tha Tiger

While this is simply a predictable romance story, the action thriller part does a fine job. The spy, the tension, the action: it knits into some good stunts and fight scenes. Plus, the cinematography of this is beautiful.  I think the big part is that the two leads, Salman Khan playing Tiger and Katrina Kaif playing Goya are wonderful as in their spy scenes.  As romantic partners, they do feel a little forced.  Their chemistry isn’t as natural as I have seen in comparison to other stories. I mean, it was forced and cheesy.  Then it kind of hits cringe territory and laugh out loud moments.

Ek Tha Tiger

Overall, Ek Tha Tiger is a really good Indian action thriller.  The romance stretches it a little.  however, the story itself while predictable still has a decent fun factor and the stunts and action choreographer are a little over the top but still entertaining.  The leads Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan may lack a bit of romantic chemistry but their action sequences are thrilling enough.

**Side note: You can’t really call this a typical Bollywood since there is only something like 3 actual songs where its singing and dancing randomly and it doesn’t even happen until a good part into the movie. However, there are some dramatic songs inserted a few times following the characters contemplating.  So, its not too bad.  It still keeps the action thriller as their main genre going ;)**

Have you seen Ek Tha Tiger? What do you think?

Any guesses for the F selection? Think teen drama.