The Cold Light of Day

The Cold Light of Day... or as I like to call it, how Bruce Willis got a free vacation to Spain.

Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) arrives in Spain, distracted by his small business in financial trouble (which never materializes into a plot point), to meet with his family for a vacation. Will and his father Martin (Bruce Willis) do not always see eye to eye and when a small accident on Martin's boat happens, Will goes to town for medicine. Upon returning, Will finds the boat abandoned and in disarray.

Back on land, Will speaks with the local police department. The police officers go to the boat where Will meets with a man who knows what happened to Will's family and is willing to show him. Will escapes and in the process meets up with Martin.

Martin informs Will that he has been hiding his true work from Will, that he is a CIA agent (shocking, I know). Martin spits out enough plot; the people who took his family are after a briefcase that Martin took and gave to his superiors, before meeting with villain partner, Jean (Sigourney Weaver). As soon as they end their conversation, Martin exits stage left and Will goes on the run with the brief knowledge that Martin dispensed.

Along the way, Will teams up with a local, Lucia (Veronica Echegui) who holds a not too surprising secret. They are chased all throughout Madrid by various bad guys including Jean's number 1 henchman, Gorman (Joseph Mawle), before the inevitable climax where Will and Jean must face off.

I was on board with this film for about the first half hour or so. I was not watching a film that was re-inventing the wheel, but I didn't hate myself for watching it. As the second half of the film kicked in, though, the plot becomes overly complicated with various needless bad guys. This could have been a standard on the run-type film, but then with a gang of Mossad agents join the fray and the plot gets very murky. After a while, my interest in this film waned and I really didn't care anymore about the briefcase (or MacGuffin, as my dear friend Karina perfectly called it) or what happened to Will's family.

Besides the overly-complicated plot, the biggest issue with this film lies within the acting. Henry Cavill might be a star in the making with the Superman reboot scheduled to launch next year, but his performance in this film is pretty laughable. One scene in particular that made me laugh involved Will being on a bus and getting a phone call. His performance in this supposed emotion-filled scene was very wooden and I ended up laughing. Besides his lack of conveying a proper level of emotion, Henry Cavill never really invests himself into the character, except when he has to be shirtless. Sorry, but he is supposed to be the son of Bruce Willis, and when I see the son of Bruce Willis, I expect someone who can handle themselves somewhat more competently.

Speaking of Bruce Willis, he has no more than an extended cameo. As I said in the beginning, I felt Bruce Willis took this film to hang out in Spain for about a week. Bruce Willis shows up, says his lines of exposition and leaves. Beyond that, he is really there to have his face and name slapped onto the poster and trailer to help sell extra movie tickets. And judging by the box office, that didn't help much.

The other big name in the film is Sigourney Weaver. She doesn't try to hide that she is evil and just chews up her scenery. Sigourney Weaver's Jean just goes through the motions as a government agent doing all she can to "protect America" from terrorists. Sigourney Weaver sits on the other side of the fence as her performance goes over the top without any rhyme or reason as she spouts out one-liners during gunfights and  casually strolls through gunfights as if knowing she wont get hurt. Again, I think she just wanted to hang out in Spain for a while.

The Cold Light of Day is directed by Mabrouk El Mechri who directed the, much better than it should have been, JCVD. In JCVD that film had style with good performances and a solid script. Unfortunately all of those aspects are missing from this film. With the exception of some nice panoramic views of Madrid, there is nothing that El Mechri brought to this film worth seeing.

As an overall experience, this is a really bad film. The stars appeared to have taken this for a paycheck and/or a nice trip to Spain. With the talent involved, this should have been better, but from the acting to writing and to directing, this was a total losing effort. And everyone was on the same page with making this a bad film.

And what was the point of Colm Meaney?


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