A forgotten Tom Cruise movie is currently crushing on streaming and this one is credited with helping him to restart his action career
One of Tom Cruise’s most underrated movies is getting a bit of a second life on streaming. In 2010, after being steeped in controversy over his relationship to both Katie Holmes and Scientology, Tom Cruise reunited with his Vanilla Sky co-star, Cameron Diaz, for an odd action-comedy that flew mostly under the radar. That movie was Knight and Day. Now, with the benefit of hindsight and a few more turns as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise under his belt, audiences are turning to Knight and Day to get a bit more Tom Cruise as an action star in their lives. It’s currently crushing on Amazon Prime.
The film, for those unfamiliar, stars Tom Cruise as Roy Miller, a spy who is on the run in the wake of a botched protection mission. It left him in possession of an immensely valuable energy source after being framed with the assassination of its inventor. Following a chance encounter with a woman at the airport — Cameron Diaz’s June Havens — his enemies in the CIA believe that she is working with him and thus put a target on her back. Unwilling to let her become yet another casualty of his faulty mission, he whisks her away on a wild, action-packed adventure to uncover the plot behind his framing. It’s a race to save the energy source from falling into the hands of traitors in the CIA and a nefarious and powerful Spanish arms dealer.
The film marks one of the last roles for Cameron Diaz, who only led a handful of other films like Bad Teacher and Sex Tape before ultimately announcing that she retired from acting. That was shortly after marrying her husband, Good Charlotte’s frontman Benji Madden. While the Knight and Day was on the downswing of his co-star’s career, getting to lead an action movie actually helped Tom Cruise out of a bit of a career image slump.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears for the past 15 years, you’ve probably heard of Tom Cruise’s now-infamous Oprah Winfrey interview in which he seemed a bit manic and even jumped on her couch when discussing how in love he was with his now ex-wife, Katie Holmes, in 2005. The public relations nightmare, which came as he was promoting War of the Worlds put a bit of a stink on his career for a while. Audiences wondered if his relationship with the Church of Scientology had made him more of a show business mascot than an artist.
After releasing a third Mission Impossible movie one year later, it became clear that the actor simply couldn’t poke his head up without the stink of that time in his life being brought up again and again. That is until Knight and Day hit theaters five years later. Suddenly, the conversation surrounding the movie was all about seeing Tom Cruise back in the saddle as a spy and action hero. Sure, Knight and Day was far from perfect, but it had the charm and spectacle that Tom Cruise movies were once known for without the myriad of tabloid drama hanging over it.
As a result, when Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol hit theaters the following year, audiences were once again willing to give Tom Cruise a chance. Admittedly, he got a bit of a boon to his reputation before all this when he played the hilarious Lee Grossman in the 2008 film Tropic Thunder, but that wasn’t exactly a step up the ladder of getting back to leading action movies. However, in the interest of fairness and context, consider it honorably mentioned in the story of his comeback.
Knight and Day, though, got viewers to pay attention to Tom Cruise as an action hero and leading man once again. It hit above average at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes and earned $262 million at the box office. Since then he’s gone on to make several more Mission Impossible movies and even kicked off another franchise in the genre, Jack Reacher. Thanks to cooler one-off projects like Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, he even built up enough fan equity to be forgiven for out-and-out stinkers like Rock of Ages and The Mummy.
Tom Cruise earned his comeback too. Regardless of what he chooses to worship in his personal life, the man takes full responsibility and control of every movie that he’s in. Let’s not forget how passionate he became recently when he freaked out on the set of Mission Impossible 7 after he noticed crew members not complying with COVID-19 guidelines. While not as volatile, it seems Knight and Day was no exception.
Speaking to Den of Geek in 2010, Knight and Day director James Mangold noted that the film was originally conceived as something totally different before Tom Cruise joined the project and put his very unique brand of Hollywood leading man flavor on the project. Mangold told the outlet that the movie was envisioned as more of a “zany comedy” with Chris Tucker of Rush Hour fame eyed for the leading role alongside Eva Mendez.