Friday 6 September 2013

Movie Review: The Cold Light Of Day (2012)

A make-work project to stimulate Spain's economy, The Cold Light Of Day is an example of mechanical filmmaking at its worst.

Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) travels to Spain for a vacation on-board the family yacht with his dad Martin (Bruce Willis), mom Laurie (Caroline Goodall), and brother Josh. Will has a strained relationship with Martin, who claims to be an American cultural attache. When Will is briefly on-shore, the yacht is attacked by unknown assailants and all the other family members disappear. Will goes to the Spanish police, but they act creepy and he flees.

Soon Martin reemerges and reconnects with Will, with dad revealing himself to be a CIA agent. Laurie and Josh are being held hostage by evil-doers until Martin can recover a mysterious briefcase and exchange it for his family. But the CIA is in no mood to help, and indeed Martin's agency colleague Jean Carrack (Sigourney Weaver) arranges to get him killed. Will is on his own and being chased by assassins, but manages to connect with Lucia (VerĂ³nica Echegui), the daughter of Martin's friend. Will and Lucia have to find a way to dodge bullets and bad guys to rescue Laurie and Josh.

Large pay cheques must have been dangled in front of Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver to get them involved in this charred turkey. Willis hangs around for the opening 25 minutes, delivers maybe 10 lines, and takes a sniper's bullet as an expedient exit away from the production. Weaver suffers through the entire film, robotically playing the limp role of the icy but corrupted agent, unconvincingly spouting warmed-over one-liners as she allows the untrained Will to repeatedly give her the slip.

As for Henry Cavill (Superman circa 2013), he puts on a feeble display as the stock angry-young-man-forced-into-heroic-action-to-save-his-family in a role that loses credibility early and often thereafter.

Director Mabrouk El Mechri packs The Cold Light Of Day with the drippy fat of endless tedious car chases, beatings, and shoot-outs, each cockamamie action sequence offering absolutely nothing new but nevertheless stretched to twice as long as necessary simply to help the film reach the 90 minute running time. When the car tires are not screeching, the movie is a blatant travelogue for Spain, made worse by barefaced product placements, the Coke cans and car advertisements often dominating the screen for no other reason than to cash that desperately needed cheque.

The plot is incomprehensible, and towards the ridiculous climax, various groups of undefined and heavily armed and kevlared men converge on the McGuffin briefcase exchanging fire in a wild shootout using automatic weapons, without attracting the attention of a single police officer.

Unmistakably, The Cold Light Of Day emits the old stench of decay.

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