Shut out ‘The Cold Light of Day’
I’m surprised “The Cold Light of Day” ever saw any light of day.
The studios seemed to slip this one out under the dark of night, and for good reason. It’s an embarrassment to all involved, a film born for the Walmart bargain bin, but better suited for an episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
It relies solely on the star power of Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, along with the assumption that audiences would like an introduction to star Henry Cavill, who’s set to play Superman in the upcoming Zack Snyder reboot.
It’s a capable cast, sure, but its members are thwarted by a paint-by-numbers screenplay that can’t seem to stay within the lines – or even use the right colors, for that matter.
Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri (“JCVD”) with all the subtlety of a M.C. Hammer music video, “The Cold Light of Day” follows whiny businessman Will Shaw (Cavill, Showtime’s “The Tudors”), who begrudgingly visits Spain for his family’s annual sailing trip.
With his business in dire straits, Will is less than thrilled to be there, a feeling sensed by his father, Martin (Willis, “Die Hard”), whose expository dialogue tells us he’s some sort of cultural ambassador for the U.S. Embassy but not a spy, no.
Turns out he is a spy, and everyone finds out the hard way. After moping around on the mainland and filling the film’s product placement quota with refreshing, ice-cold Coca-Cola, Will returns to the boat to find everyone missing.
He whimpers his way to the authorities, who seem to be in cahoots with the kidnappers. They attempt to apprehend him, but Martin appears to save the day and his bewildered son.
Fortunately, Martin still has a contact in Spain – Carrack (Weaver, “Ghostbusters”), his former partner who seems to have an agenda of her own. Apparently, these kidnappers are after a mysterious briefcase that she’s not willing to pony up, and they’ve taken Martin’s family as leverage. Or something.
Anyway, things aren’t as they seem, someone starts shooting at them, Will gets separated from his father and takes off into the streets of Madrid. Eventually, he snivels his way into an encounter with Lucia (Veronica Echegui, “My Prison Yard”), a beautiful Spaniard with a revenge agenda – or a revengenda.
Logically, they join forces and enter a series of chase sequences through the city, avoiding rogue agents, police, assassins, police assassins and any semblance of coherence. Reliable cinematographer Remi Adefarasin’s (HBO’s “Band of Brothers”) work is put to shame through sloppy post-production editing, with much of the action taking place at nighttime in muddy darkness that makes the proceedings almost incomprehensible.
The plot twists are less than surprising, presented with all the gravity of a toenail clipping. The numerous chase sequences are reduced to herky-jerky quick cuts that make this shoddy by-the-numbers thriller less engaging than it already is.
Stilted dialogue detracts from the already paper-thin characters, making it practically impossible for an audience to invest interest or even care about what happens next. The cast literally has nothing to work with, and Weaver’s the only one who seems to be having some sort of fun with her role, probably because she’s Sigourney Weaver and can do things like that.
There is, however, a cameo from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” veteran Colm Meaney, so the film, at least, has that going for it.
“The Cold Light of Day,” not to be confused with “The Warm Dark of Night,” is rated PG-13 for language and sexual content and is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.