The Cold Light Of Day

Directed by: Mabrouk El Mechri

Starring:  Henry Cavill, Sigourney Weaver, Bruce Willis, Caroline Goodall, Rafi Gavron

I have a confession to make: I had multiple films on tap this weekend and I knew The Cold Light Of Day starred Bruce Willis.  But somehow I confused The Cold Light Of Day with Bruce’s other upcoming September film, Looper.  So as I sat down excited to see a time jumping action flick, I saw Henry Cavill, and I thought to myself, “Superman is in this movie too?”  Then it dawned on me that I had confused my Bruce Willis flicks.  Ha!  I blame Bruce for being in 500 movies this year. However, while Bruce can still open up a serious can of whoop-ass, The Cold Light Of Day is nothing special.

The film follows Will Shaw (Henry Cavill), a busy consultant who is headed to Spain for a family vacation.  Will is not exactly thrilled to be in Spain because he is in the midst of a business crisis.  He is even less happy when his dad Martin Shaw (Bruce Willis) picks him up at the airport.  Martin and Will have a tense relationship.  Martin is a cultural consultant for the embassy who schedules gospel quartets and Picasso experts around the world.  Due to his cultural work with the embassy, Martin moved his family around every two years.  (Yes that does sound implausible, but let us suspend our disbelief).  Will is incredibly bitter about his childhood and feels that his dad is a bit of a “Godzilla.”  While Martin and the rest of the Shaw family are relaxing in beautiful coastal Spain on the family’s boat, Will is disconnected from his family, e-mailing and texting for work.  When Will gets into an argument with his father, he decides to swim to shore and take a break from his family vacation.

When he tries to swim back to the boat, he finds that his family is missing and the boat has been ransacked.  He initially tries to seek help from the Spanish police, but they try to capture him.  When he tries to escape the police, he is stunned when his father Martin comes to his aid and beats the hell out of the cops.  They escape and Martin tells Will that he actually works secretly for the CIA, and Will’s mother, brother and his brother’s girlfriend have been kidnapped.  The terrorists want a briefcase that Martin confiscated and if Martin does not turn over the briefcase in 24 hours, the entire Shaw family will be killed.  Mayhem ensues and what follows is a fast-paced ride through Spain as the terrorists and rogue agents close in and the time to save the Shaw family ticks away.

The Cold Light Of Day has its bright spots.  Cavill is easy on the eyes and he does a good job of playing the scared, bewildered guy who is frantically trying to stay alive and save his family.  In addition, Willis continues to show that he can mix it up and play the tough action star.  Sigourney Weaver as Jean Carrak is also in fine form as one of the film’s villains and dispenses a few funny one-liners.  Moreover, I can say that the film has a fairly constant flow of action, and I really want to vacation off of the coast of Spain after watching this movie.

With all of that being said, The Cold Light Of Day is not a modern action flick and I understand why it was released in September and not in another highly competitive box office month. The plot just seemed a bit implausible, yet predictable.  It was hard for me to believe that a lone briefcase contains world secrets.  It just seemed so low-tech. The high speed chases and gun battles in the middle of downtown Madrid also seem far-fetched.  What secret agents have shootouts in the middle of national landmarks?  Moreover, the plot felt thrown together in places and character development and attempts to explain character motives were pretty much abandoned early on in the film.  The film’s primary focus was throwing one chase scene after another.  Yet even the action failed in some respects because the cinematography was jarring and difficult to follow at times.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend running out to theaters to see it.  However, if you don’t have anything to do one Saturday night, you might want to catch it on cable.  The Cold Light Of Day earns a 0.09% rating.  Try a Blood Red Sangria Cocktail with this one.