Cold Light of Day Review
It’s rare that you see such a blatant use of the old bait-and-switch gambit in movie making. The other night while considering what movie to subject myself to I came across this film and saw that it featured Bruce Willis. I am a Bruce Willis fan and have found that he brings a lot of intensity and actual acting ability to action films. I checked out a trailer and saw he was featured prominently so I figured “How bad can it be? Even Hudson Hawk was entertaining”.
However, 15 minutes into the film Bruce’s character proves to have a fatal allergy to bullets, leaving us with Henry Cavill grinding through some of the most formulaic spy movie garbage possible. If there were a spy movie drinking game this film would have had me carted off with alcohol poisoning by the third act. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen this movie.
Again, the thing that frustrates me is that this movie did have some elements that might have saved it. Henry Cavill did his best with what he had. Sigourney Weaver is always worth watching. Some of the driving action was pretty good. The Spanish girl they got to play the female eye candy was reasonably hot.
However, this film seems motivated to prove the Third Law of Thermodynamics: for every force or action there is an equal and opposite force or action (or in this case film element). For all of Henrys effort in doing something with his character the rest of the cast acted like animatronic characters from a Disneyland ride. Sigourney Weaver Skyped in her performance, and her character gave us no real reason to either love or hate her. The chase scenes are well executed, but the jerky editing really takes you out of the immersion into a rancid theater seat with some homeless guy in the row ahead of you coughing up phlegm (I don’t know for sure he was homeless). The hot girl turns out to be the protagonists sister, bleeding any potential romance and secondary nuance into the afterlife with Bruce Willis.
And of course, the story is dry, boring, plot hole riddled, and ultimately lacking in anything to draw you in. You can watch the entirety of the film and never once feel your pulse quicken or your eyes open all the way.
The only thing that got my blood moving is an ugly trend I see in movie titles. It turns out in the last few years the need for a movie title to actually have anything to do with the movie is way more optional than most of us would imagine. Remember when Fight Club would describe a film about a club for fighting? Star Wars was about wars among the stars, Dusk Till Dawn was about surviving until morning, and Sex and the City was about a mythical (in my recent experience) city wherein sex would occur. Instead we get a lot of movies that seemed to be named by a marketing research department with no regard for the actual content of the film. This movie shares a lot in common with the movie Abduction, and one of those things is the worthlessness of the title. There is nothing in the film that remotely implies some significance to light, cold, or day. In fact a lot of the film takes place at night in what looks like a balmy Spanish city.
Anyway, the film. Will (Henry Cavill-the Tudors, Immortals, Man of Steel. By the way, I will say his acting ability has improved since Immortals) is a businessman flying into Spain to spend a week with his family; his enabling younger brother (Rafi Gavron), alchoholic mother (Caroline Goodall-Schindlers List, Cliffhanger, Hook), the brothers girlfriend (Emma Hamilton-the Tudors, Into the Storm, Friends Forever), and his father Martin (Bruce Willis-Die Hard, Sixth Sense, Fifth Element). Turns out his business is going bankrupt. Martin is a domineering jerk and the family does some social things and some attempt is made at developing the father/son antagonistic relationship. This all would have been handy if Martin hadn’t died 10 minutes later and the rest of his family gotten locked in a box for the rest of the film. Anyway, Will has a fight and swims to shore. While there the boat moves and it turns out the entire family is missing. They have been kidnapped and Martin has been working for the CIA as some kind of agent. He rescues Will from the local corrupt law enforcement and meets with Carrack (Sigourney Weaver-Alien, Paul, Heart Breakers. Alien image courtesy of the Movie T Shirt Category). After the meeting he gets shot.
Honestly, that is about when the story started to come apart in terms of keeping me interested. Will gets chases by a bad guy and accused of killing a Spanish policeman. He meets up with Carrack who turns out to want nothing(?) from him or something. He tracks down a friend of his dad and a hot girl (Verónica Echegui-Bunny and the Bull, My Name is Juani) who turns out to be his half sister. The bad guys turn out to be kind of good somehow, and Carrack is supposed to want to kill his whole family for no reason. There is a massive car chase and gun battle that no one in the city seems to care about.
The stars. The girl is pretty much what my dream woman should plan on looking like. One star. Even in bad movies I enjoy seeing both Sigourney Weaver and Bruce Willis. One star. I’ll give half a star for Henry Cavill doing his best with the role, and another half star for some of the driving action. Total: three stars.
The black holes. Having the main reason I saw this film disappear after 20 minutes. One black hole. Overall kind of boring and pointless. One black hole. Mediocre acting from pretty much everyone. One black hole. Some big giant plot holes and lack of motivation. One black hole. There was this huge mystery surrounding the contents of a briefcase, and at the end of the film not only did they fail to tell you what the hell was in it but they failed to impart any kind of meaning or point to the film. This isn’t Pulp Fiction. One black hole. Total: five black holes.
So a total of two black holes. It has been a while since I had a review in the negative. Either I am getting soft or have so become acclimatized to banality and mediocrity that even crap is starting to look good to me. I need to tighten up and be more merciless. Is there anything to make you want to go see this film? Not really. On the other hand there really isn’t anything so bad to make you not want to go see this film. If you watch it you will be occupied for 93 minutes and not really regret the time, but honestly you would be better reading a good book. Date movie? I supposed, if what you are looking for is bland, PG-13 action with no surprises. The lack of romance will not get her thinking in the right direction however so maybe not. Bathroom break? I’d say the scene in the club when they are treating Will’s gunshot wound with a magic spoon (I wish I were kidding) is pretty worthless.
Thanks for reading. More stuff coming out soon. Plus I have some more Star Trek related things to talk about. I know you can’t get enough of that. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Feel free to comment here on this film or my review. If you have an off topic question or comment email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again. Talk to you soon.