Movie Review: "The Cold Light of Day"
Rating: PG-13 (language and sexual content)
Length: 93 minutes
Release date: September 7, 2012
Directed by: Mabrouk El Mechri
Genre: Action, Thriller
Stars: 2 out of 5
"The Cold Light of Day" is an action/thriller movie directed by Mabrouk El Mechri, with Henry Cavill in the starring role of Will Shaw. Costars Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver add a bit of star power to the cast while Spanish actress Veronica Echegui adds some local flavor. This is Cavill's final role before appearing as Superman in 2013's "Man of Steel."
The plot of the movie is a well-traveled one. Will is on a trip to Spain with his family, spending a not-so-enjoyable time on a boat, when his brother's girlfriend is injured in an accident. Will volunteers to swim to shore for help, only to return to an empty boat that has some signs of struggle. With his family missing, Will seeks help from the local police, taking them to the boat to investigate.
Once Will and the police officers reach the boat, the central plot of the movie begins. Instead of cooperative police officers investigating his family's disappearance, Will finds himself face to face with a mysterious man named Zahir (Roschdy Zem, "Point Blank"). Zahir claims to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Will's family, playing his role as eager to help but with a barely hidden agenda. Will notices this and makes a daring escape from Zahir and the police, ending in a crash with a tree and a meeting with his father Martin, played by action-movie veteran Bruce Willis.
At this point, things get a bit complicated as Martin reveals that he's a CIA agent instead of a mild-mannered executive, and that the people who have kidnapped the missing family members are seeking a briefcase that he's taken. The two meet up with Martin's partner, played by Sigourney Weaver, who supposedly has the briefcase, and Martin is killed by a sniper. This places Will in the pivotal role of unraveling the mystery of the case's location and saving his family. From there, the movie consists of typical action-movie fare, with car chases, foot chases, explosions, gunplay and the occasional double-cross.
"The Cold Light of Day" won't be remembered as the best action movie of the year, but it does have its selling points. Henry Cavill makes a solid showing as an action-adventure star. His portrayal as an everyday man thrust into extreme conditions is a well-played one, with his characterization showing the strains caused by being placed into a situation that's well beyond his abilities. His dedication to helping his family is the character's driving force however, and he plays Will with this sense of increasing rage, which makes the character extremely formidable.
Bruce Willis' role in the film is mildly disappointing, however, primarily due to the short time that he's on the screen. When you have Bruce Willis in an action role, you simply expect more action from him. It's also a bit stunning for fans to see Willis take a bullet and fail to pop back up. His role as Martin is very different from his "Die Hard" John McClane roles, but it's still satisfying to see him playing his typical tough-guy characterization, even though it's only for a few minutes.
Sigourney Weaver is no newcomer to action-adventure movies, and she sails through "The Cold Light of Day" with ease. Her character is ruthless and driven, allowing Weaver to play the role as a movie baddie with aplomb. From the moment she hits the screen, she leaves you anxiously awaiting her next scene. Cavill may have the starring role, but Weaver's acting steals the show every time she's in shot.
Rounding out the primary cast is Echegui, playing the role of Lucia. Lucia is Will's local guide, picked up due to a mysterious phone call he receives on his father's cellphone. She knows the city and has a few friends who provide minor help to Will's quest for the briefcase. She fits well in the film, handling both the plot and action scenes smoothly, with her acting about on par with Cavill's. She's appeared in a number of Spanish films, but her performance may pave the way to a few more Hollywood parts.
"The Cold Light of Day" is at its core a typical action/thriller. The plot has a few surprises to keep viewers interested, and Mabrouk El Mechri's directing is well-suited to the subject matter. The movie is a departure from his earlier work with the film "JCVD," which was more of a dark comedy, but he manages to turn in a well-paced popcorn movie that's worth seeing when you're tired of the usual string of summer blockbusters.