SUPERMAN meets Die Hard in the new action thriller, The Cold Light of Day, certificate 12A. Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill feature in the films central roles, Willis became an action movie icon with his portal of John McClane in the Die Hard series and Cavill will shortly be seen wearing the costume of Krypton’s favourite son, in the reboot of the Superman franchise, Man Of Steel.
The film is directed by Mabrouk El-Mechri, who previously worked on the wonderfully post-modern action thriller, JCVD. The film had Jean Claude Van Dame portraying himself as a down on his luck actor, returning to his homeland of Belgium and getting caught up in a hostage situation. The film asked the question what the real man would do in a situation his onscreen persona had often found himself in.
Sadly The Cold Light of Day has none of that films irony. In fact the feature feels more like a straight to DVD film, elevated to the big screen because of its stellar cast. Willis and Cavill star as father and son, Martin and Will Shaw and Sigourney Weaver plays the film’s antagonist, Jean Carrack.
Those hoping for another Bruce Willis led action feature will be left disappointed. The actor has very limited screen time in the film, surprisingly its Henry Cavill’s character, Will Shaw who is the film’s central protagonist. After his family is kidnapped on a sailing trip in Spain, the young Wall Street trader must confront Israeli forces and rogue CIA agents, as he attempt to save his family within 24 hours. In the process he uncovers his father’s true profession and discovers the significance of a stolen briefcase that ignited the films events.
Sadly Cavill fails to convince throughout the feature, the young actor simply doesn’t do enough to showcase his competency as an action star. Admittedly there’s not much he can do with such a substandard screenplay.
The films rubix cube plot slowly reveals itself, twisting and turning upon itself with revelations about Will’s father and various plot twists. By the time these revelations come, many viewers may have already switched off. The film’s first half hour is too slowly paced and dull, when the film actually gets into gear, everything feels too rushed and frantic. Narrative goes out the window in favour of a consecutive string of various set pieces.
Sadly even the film’s action sequences are mediocre at best, not even a climatic car chase through the darkened streets of Madrid, raised the adrenaline levels sufficiently. With its 12A viewing certificate, at times the film feels rather tame and watered down for a younger viewing audience.
On a positive note however, Sigourney Weaver is excellent as the films villainess, cold hearted CIA agent, Jean Carrack. She is clearly having fun with her role, much like her small role in the 2011 comedy, Paul. Spanish actress, Veronica Echegui is also eye catchingly beautiful in her small supporting role as Will’s half-sister, Lucia.
With its nondescript title, below par plot and poor action sequences, The Cold Light of Day feels like a substandard entry into the action movie genre. The Bourne franchise and the recently released, Haywire upped the ante and this film doesn’t come close to emulating either. Its strong cast feels wasted throughout, particularly Willis and even hardened fans of these types of films may be left feeling short-changed by the feature.
Review by William McClean