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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Opinion Battles Round 21 – Favourite Tom Cruise Role

The next round of Opinion Battles is here! Round 21 is all about sharing our favorite Tom Cruise roles! This one wasn’t hard to find since I’m not exactly a Tom Cruise fan but I do love him a whole lot as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise and the recent ones have just been totally awesome!
The other choices are pretty great also. I’d have to say that his role in Collateral crossed my mind for a split second. 😉
Which Tom Cruise role do you like?
Head over to see the other selections and drop your vote on who you agree with most!

P.S. I realized that I forgot to reblog the last round on our favorite Clive Owen roles and you can head over and check that out on Movie Reviews 101 sidebar and drop your vote as well! The poll should still be running!

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 21

Favourite Tom Cruise Role

Tom Cruise is arguable the biggest movie star in the business today and over his 30 plus career he has become one of the most popular choices for a range of different films. Nearly always the leading man and his willingness to take on the most dangerous stunts. While he will always be surrounded by controversy because of his attachment to Scientology no one can question his ability as an actor.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be taking on our Favourite Franchise Serial Killer and you will need to have your entries sent to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby 30th October 2016.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Vincent – Collateralvincent

Vincent is a hitman who has come to Los Angeles to kill a certain number of people, he hires a taxi to drive him…

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

Hello, everyone! I finally made my way to the theatres thanks to a very lovely  Cineplex week of cheap Tuesday price all week long! I just had to take the opportunity to go and since I’ve been wanting to see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation since forever, this was the perfect time to go! I went with my friend on Wednesday night, ran over there after work and made it just in time with a little bit of time before TimePlay started.

There was only 3 people playing TimePlay but I got 1st place! Woohoo! 😉

So, allow me to do a rant before we start this review so I can get this off my chest! If you don’t want to read it, simply scroll down and start reading where the poster starts 🙂

Some of you that have been reading a good bit of my reviews know that my theater visits have been…eventful.  I mean, when I went to go see Gravity, there was a dog in the theater.  That’s an extreme case.  This time around, I had to be extremely proud of myself for controlling my urge to toss my apple juice bottle at the couple sitting like 4 seats away.  I have no issues with young couples.  I’m even cool with PDA.  BUT, the theater is NOT your living room.  You do not commentate in a voice that you think is whispering but I can hear throughout the movie, especially in the quiet talking parts.  Two, you can make out on your living room couch but not the theater even if its in your dark little corner especially when your f**king seats creek every single time you shift.  Subtlety is your best friend in that situation.  I kid you not, these two love birds were non-stop the whole time.  When the movie was in their discussion part, no music, quiet, I could hear them even clearer and those lip smacks and that vibe of, “I want to rip your clothes off right here and then” was travelling straight at me a few seats away.  So no, if you intend on being inappropriate, don’t go to the theater, wait for the damn movie and rent it.  Then you can do whatever you so wish and NO ONE will give a crap! If you do decide to go to the theater, then have the common courtesy and shut the f**k up! You might not give a shit about the $7 spent on this movie but I went to see a movie, not hear you smooch and chat and comment and whatever else all that noise was. RANT OVER!

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. – IMDB

 The Mission Impossible series fell a little short for me in the middle but it sure did pick itself up in the last one, Ghost Protocol.  Now, that one had me all pumped about this one.  Sure, Tom Cruise went a little cray-cray with his scientology but there is no doubt that he is a respectable action star.  One that doesn’t seem to be leaving this world of adrenaline pumped scenes.  And Rogue Nation is full on proof that his stunts are more and more dangerous every time.  Excuse me as I catch my breath just thinking about a few of the scenes. As disturbing as my theatre neighbors were, they only ruined my movie experience and not so much the movie.  Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is a lot of high octane, adrenaline rush, blood pumping fun rolled in with some fantastic moments that kind of break the intensity a little.  In parts that you probably shouldn’t laugh, they give us a reason to just relax for a sec. That is all thanks to a wonderful cast that mesh so well together.

mission impossible rogue nation

Tom Cruise is the star here but there is no doubt that his IMF team is equally great.  Benji, played by Simon Pegg is hilarious all the time.  When he is scared, he makes us laugh even more.  And then we have the absolutely stylishly cool but funny one liners in Ving Rhames.  Making up for the authority in the IMF is Jeremy Renner who has a much smaller part this time but whenever he shows up, he makes up for some good laughs.

mission impossible rogue nation

 This time, we toss Alec Baldwin in the mix as CIA essentially dissolves IMF and then takes over their people and is this authority that really doesn’t believe much.  But he definitely isn’t the highlight.  New addition highlight goes to the new girl Ilsa, played by Rebecca Ferguson who not only is pretty and sexy but also a rather good actress and has some really great action scenes. I guess we can’t talk about her and not talk about our bad guy in this installment, Solomon Kane, the mystery man behind the elusive Syndicate that is played by Sean Harris. While I was not exactly sure about him and his bad guy role, I think as a villain, he was convincing enough mostly because we never really knew who he was and even when he was around, it was never long enough to figure him out completely.  That sort of mystery keeps the plot going as to what the Syndicate is and who this man is and what in the world he is after.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

What we can’t ignore is that while the characters are fun and entertaining or twisty and mysterious, there is no denying that the sets they did and the location they chose were fantastic.  The shots are just so nice to look at whether its in London or Venice or wherever else they went.  The mood fit what they wanted to do.  Everything worked very well together.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Overall, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is a lot of fun.  The IMF crew with Ethan Hunt, Brandt, Benji, and group are as always funny and entertaining.  Their chemistry is really great.  The new additions are nice as well.  I kind of think that the villain could’ve been a little better but what he represents was mysterious enough to keep me guessing what the end goal was. Best of all, the action sequences are intense and dangerous, exactly what we expect Tom Cruise to do and he delivers those adrenaline filled sequences remarkably. Its the fifth outing for Mission Impossible and I’ve got to say that I really look forward and hope to see a sixth installment.

Have you seen Mission Impossible Rogue Nation? What did you think about it? 

Jack Reacher (2012)

For me, Tom Cruise went back on my radar after I saw M:I: Ghost Protocol.  I don’t think I reviewed that here yet but that movie was my turning point into believing that Tom Cruise still had it in him.  My tablet has this movie streaming app and they’ve been dishing out free rental vouchers so thats why you’ll see me posting ridiculous amount of movie reviews, because I can get it for free 🙂 I still have 2 more to go as I write this! The first one I chose was a newer selection, Jack Reacher!

jack reacher posterDirector: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney, Joseph Sikora, Robert Duvall

On a normal morning, five strangers are shot dead with six shots by a sniper in the opposite parking lot.  The police come in and with all the forensics and evidence, they pinpoint James Barr (Joseph Sikora) to be the obvious suspect.  Only Barr says he’s innocent and asks to Get Jack Reacher.  Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is an ex-military investigator who has become a long-time drifter that has fell off the map.  Before they knew it, Jack Reacher comes to the police department to find them and he sees all the mistakes that the crime scene consists of.  He digs with the help of the District Attorney’s (Richard Jenkins) daughter, Helen (Rosamund Pike) who is a young defense attorney appointed to help Barr.  As more leads are found, the situation becomes more dangerous and he knows that there is more people involved and someone deadly at the end pulling the strings.

jack reacher 1

Jack Reacher is a pretty decent crime thriller.  For the most part, I was really intrigued by the story.  It was a bit predictable even without having read the source material.  In fact, I’ve never read any of Lee Child’s novels before but I saw a part of the “twist” long before it happened.  Even with that, the whole analysis and setup of the elaborate crime under investigation was quite detailed and intriguing and kept me wondering or even doubting my initial suspicions throughout the movie.

jaxk reacher 2

Tom Cruise does a pretty awesome job as Jack Reacher.  He’s a drifter who really has nothing to lose.  He’s agile when he fist fights and he will do whatever it takes to get himself the information he needs. This gives him the advantage over those in the system.  We see that he is very skilled at what he does and that even though his purpose of going there was as agreed with Barr to get rid of him, he still was able to be objective. The character design of Jack Reacher is definitely an impressive one.

jack reacher 4

The main female lead is played by Rosamund Pike as an attorney defending Barr. I loved Rosamund Pike in Pride and Prejudice. She’s so elegant and strong all in one person and she always plays roles that has that style. At least this role was similar also in its own way.  In Jack Reacher, she’s asks for a lot of reasoning especially regarding what Jack Reacher does and whenever he asks her to find certain information.  Their chemistry was good in the way that they worked together but at the same time there were trust issues and some challenging each other as they were trying to figure out the investigation.

jack reacher 3

The only problem with this movie was the ending and the villain: the guy that whipped up this whole thing.  It felt like its like it got tired and went “Okay, its too long. Let’s stop it right here and leave the rest for the audience to fill in the blanks”.  Till that very end, the reasoning behind why the villain did all this left me all full of question marks floating around my head.  Maybe I missed something during the movie since I did watch it bit by bit throughout 24 hours. I just wasn’t satisfied with the ending in general.  To me, it just felt a bit incomplete.

Other than a poorly constructed villain and ending, this is a pretty decent thriller.  The whole setup of the plot leading up to the ending and its outstanding cast led by Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike was great.  Regardless, it is worth a watch, at the very least, you shouldn’t feel like it wasted your time.

Maybe its time to check out Lee Child’s novel and maybe it’ll give me some closure 😉

 What do you think about Tom Cruise? Do you have a favorite role that he’s done? Did you see Jack Reacher? What did you think about it? Did you read the book this was based on?