Film Review: The Cold Light of Day
What could go wrong?
Not much, apparently.
But don’t get your hopes up yet.
TL;DR As much as it does what it should, I feel nothing but apathy for this movie. It hits all the right marks, but…just meh. 3 out of 5 stars.
Torn between giving it a 3 or a 2. Went with 3 because it’s not a total loss.
But the plot here is just so uninspired. Let’s take a look.
So Henry Cavill is an upper middle class white dude. His dad is Bruce Willis, who has a boring upper middle class white person job. But surprise (not), he’s actually a CIA agent. Henry’s family (including his mum, brother and brother’s girlfriend) get kidnapped because plot. Henry must team up with Brucey to save them from Israeli spies. But Sigourney Weaver is actually the bad guy and is doublecrossing everyone. And Bruce dies, like, 20 minutes in.
There are no twists. There’s nothing special here. It’s just a lot of Henry Cavill running around looking worried. Sometimes with a gun. Sometimes shirtless. Sometimes with a girl in tow.
Yeah, the only thing they tried to do differently was have the standard girl character be a sister instead of a love interest. It fails. And is creepy. And weird. They interact exactly as you would expect romantically involved action survivors do, except they’re siblings. Ew.
And everyone gets exactly zero character development.
On the plus side, this is (to the most base level) a competent action-thriller movie. You’ve got your attractive leads, veteran actors in the mentor/villain roles, beautiful locations (fucking Spain, man). And lots of running.
Why I hate this movie:
Henry Cavill is lucky he’s gorgeous. Otherwise I wouldn’t have even bothered.
And the sister thing is so unnecessary. All it adds to the situation is that she feels more compelled to stick around. Which is probably indicative of how thin the plot is: they need to fundamentally alter a character’s back story just to give them a reason to be there. Umm.
There’s only 1 scene where the whole “main character can get up from horribly injurious falls” thing is stretched too far, and it is horrible. Here’s the setup: Henry has to get off the roof of an apartment building. He ties the cables from a satellite dish around his mid-section and jumps off the side. When the cables pull taut, he is literally whipped back against the apartment building and then falls vertically down the rest of the way (while hitting various obstacles) onto cobblestones. He is apparently fine after this. Fuck, the whipping back of the wires should have imploded his rib cage, at least.
The police are corrupt. Shocker.
The major MacGuffin is a briefcase that the Israelis want back. We do not find out what’s in it. And to really rub it in, the epilogue has Henry straight-up asking some CIA guy what’s in it, and he doesn’t tell him. Thanks.
Henry speaks to the Israelis (who are the kidnappers, btw) on the phone. Loudly. On a crowded bus. Rude. And stupid.
Nobody in this movie has learned how to shoot a gun before. Sigourney has Henry and Sister pretty much point blank with an automatic weapon and still misses.
Bruce Willis does almost no buttkicking whatsoever. He saves Henry from the police (which isn’t saying much. Incompetent), but is promptly sniped about 2 minutes later.
Oh, and a final stop on our tour of incompetence, we have the US embassy, who did jack shit to help Henry. It’s actually really smart of him to try that out, but nuh. Nobody in this movie knows how to do anything except run with guns.
Reasons to watch:
Henry Cavill is believable enough (despite dem abs) as a guy just trying to get his family back.
The Sister is pretty and actually resourceful. She gets 2 moments to shine. First, when they’ve outrun their attackers temporarily, she notices Henry has been shot. She takes him to a nightclub where her friend, a medical student, works and they fix him the fuck up. The owner is also on their side and actually helps track down Sigourney with them. Boss.
The second time is during the foiled exchange between Sigourney and the Israelis in the parking garage. Sigourney’s lackey is about to get away with the briefcase, but Sister crashes into his car and stops him. The girls are not always useless. About time.
When Henry and the club owner capture the lackey, they intentionally allow him to escape so they can follow him. That’s smart thinking, boys.
Despite his short screentime, Bruce Willis is always great to have as backup. If only he hadn’t been so highly billed, I wouldn’t have been so pissed off when he died straight away. And he didn’t get to have a showdown with Sigourney. That would have been rockin’.
Sigourney gets to have a good time. She only fails at the last minute due to the intervention of the now-noble Israelis (once they realise Bruce is dead they adjust their plan to allow the family to live. Handy).
The car chase isn’t a CGI wank, so thank god for that. And it’s not too bad, either.
Sigourney gets best line. During the car chase she gets a bit excited and lets out a surprisingly earnest sounding “Woo!” At least she’s getting something out of the experience.
She also accidentally sums up the movie when she says this near the end: “Alright, that’s it. I’m getting sick of this.” I lol’d.
The end of the chase is a simultaneous crash of both Sigourney and Henry’s vehicles. It was totally badass. Sigourney steps out of her wreckage just as it is swallowed by a subway entrance. Boss.
Spain is really pretty.
Oh, and Sigourney’s lackey is insulted that someone as untrained as Henry could defeat him. Death bed burn.
Eh. It gets the job done, but it is noticeably joyless about it. And seriously, Sigourney and Bruce should have had a geriatric fight to the death. Missed opportunity. 3 out of 5 stars.