How do you like your thrillers? Are you like me and prefer your thrillers to be fast paced and have the sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seats kind of tension (aka – a white knuckler – a term derived from so tightly gripping the arms rests of the theater seats – that your knuckles turn white). How about gunplay and auto chases? And finally, don’t you hope thrillers have a bit of logic to them, a really bad villain, and a heroic lead that you can admire – are these all on your wish list?
Which brings us to The Cold Light of Day which opened on Friday, September 7th. Historically, this weekend aka the weekend following the Labor Day holiday, has been the lowest film revenue producing weekend of the year. So if your film is opening on that weekend – there’s a good chance that A) your film isn’t that good, B) you chose to find a spot away from strong competition, and/or C) this was the only weekend offered to you.
The film stars Henry Cavill, Sigourney Weaver, and Bruce Willis. This is a film that begins with a family on a holiday aboard a sail boat off the coast of one of Spain’s sun-drenched beach towns. Willis (called Martin in the film) is a shadowy US government employee based in Madrid. Weaver (Carrack) is someone Willis works with, and the lead Henry Cavill as Will, is Martin’s son who has just flown in from San Francisco to meet up with his parents, his brother, and the brother’s girl friend, Dara.
When Will has had enough of his Dad’s heavy-handed parenting, he announces he has to go into town to get some stuff, so he dives off the sail boat to swim in and do his shopping. A few hours later, when he returns to the beach to swim back to boat – he doesn’t see the boat. He climbs up to the top of a hill, and from there he can see that the boat has gone around the point and is now anchored in a gentle out-of-sight cove.
He swims out to the boat and finds – his whole family is gone, and there are definite signs of a fierce struggle having taken place on board. The local police aren’t much help but they say take us to the boat. As usual in this type of film, the local police can’t be trusted. They’re about to turn Will over to the bad guys.
That doesn’t happen – at least at first – as Will succeeds in escaping from whom and what we don’t know. Will is saved by his Dad (Bruce Willis).
Willis calls his associate Carrick, and a rendezvous is arranged. You feel in your bones that it won’t be a favorable meeting as Willis has done something he shouldn’t have done.
So Will, a stock trader whose company has just gone belly up, must find a brief case (the one taken by Willis) and turn it over to some bad people, or his family will be killed. What’s in the brief case? We aren’t told.
So for most of the remaining hour Will is on the run. He meets a pretty woman, and together they’re off avoiding bad guys, terrorists, cops, and of course the friend that Willis as Martin trusted.
This is a by-the-numbers thriller with some tension and stress, gunplay, auto-chases and everything else that is expected in this kind of film. So, on the surface, the film looks like a Bourne thriller, or might be a Taken kind of thriller involving kidnappings. We get the same kind of automobile chases we’ve seen in every Bourne film, we get the same kind of rooftop chases we’ve seen in Bourne or Bond films. Even the music sounds derivative from the Bourne films.
What we don’t get is coherence as there are plot holes galore. We don’t get a hiss-worthy villain, and we don’t get any humor or memorable quotes at all. The film’s taglines are even predictably nothing special – Instinct is His Greatest Weapon – Time is Running Out , and Be Careful Who You Trust
Cavill could be a decent action hero in future films – in fact, in the end, the CIA chief, played by Colm Meaney, basically asks Cavill’s Will to think about a career change. Meaning expect a sequel folks.
I’ll score this one at three-point zero for it averageness. It does have good action and chases, and it is in a location you might not know too well, Madrid, Spain which adds an exotic flavor. But Cavill is far from charismatic, the story is nothing special, the films feels like it is a thriller that you seen many times before. Basically what we get is new people with the same old-same old story. Pass on this average at best paella of a film and wait for it to come out as a Red Box rental. Check out the trailer below.