There are some actors and actresses whose appearance in a film is associated with, at the very least, a mild form of entertainment. Even though I didn’t know much about The Cold Light of Day, I was encouraged by both Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver featuring in various forms of marketing for this self-confessed suspense movie. Starring Henry Cavil, the upcoming star set to play Clark Kent in Superman: Man of Steel; I was expecting a nice bit of action on a Saturday evening that didn’t really require much thought or attention.
Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) travels to Spain for a weeklong sailing vacation with his family. The holiday is doomed from the start as he soon discovers his business has become bankrupt. After causing an accident on the boat due to his preoccupation with work, Shaw swims to the shore to get some space. Unable to find his father’s boat, he turns to the police station for guidance. It soon transpires that Will’s family have been kidnapped by intelligence agents. Shaw quickly finds himself on the run from agents determined to recover a mysterious briefcase linked to his dad, Bruce Willis. The Cold Light of Day promises excitement, car chases and plenty of blood shed.
Unfortunately, The Cold Light of Day is far from exciting. Dull, mainly made up with lengthy, tiresome car chases (it seems that Cavill is only able to drive while bearing teeth, grimacing); it is certainly not what I had in mind for a Saturday night. It’s obvious that director Mabrouk El Mechri, whose previous work amounts to JCVD (a surprisingly successful film where Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself), has tried to make a European take on the Bourne films which just doesn’t work. Even though Sigourney Weaver is a fantastic bad guy, she’s constantly let down by the poor acting, plot and script.
Even though The Cold Light of Day initially feels like a fresh look at the same old, predictable plot of a rogue CIA agent, don’t be mislead by it’s continental look. Setting a film in Madrid rather than America doesn’t make it any more compelling, unique or interesting than others in the genre. I wouldn’t even suggest watching this film for the iconic stars; the Weaver vs. Cavill showdowns are tiresomely frequent. Similarly, Willis’ appearance is so cliched it’s almost painful to watch.