While vacationing with his family in Madrid, Wall Street trader Will (Henry Cavill) makes a routine trip into town to make a phone call. When he returns, his family has disappeared and the sailing boat they were staying on has been ransacked. Before he knows what’s happening, Will is waylaid and only avoids capture when his father, Martin (Bruce Willis), comes to the rescue. It turns out that Martin doesn’t have the cushy embassy job he’s talked about for years but he is, instead, a special agent. Soon Will is caught between two groups of intelligence troops, both after a briefcase Martin recently passed off and both threatening to kill his family if he doesn’t get them what they want. The Cold Light of Day is the sort of movie that reminds you that if everyone is saying something, it is probably true. When it opened to less than $2 million dollars and a horrid rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had this misguided feeling that it couldn’t be as bad as people were saying it was. I mean, Bruce Willis is involved so it can’t be all that bad, right? Man oh man, was I wrong. Within the first two minutes of putting the DVD in my player, I knew I had made a mistake and my punishment for such an egregious error was to sit through the next 90 minutes and try not to yell and throw things at the TV. I barely made it.
But what makes The Cold Light of Day so bad, you ask? In a word, everything. LITERALLY. Everything. Its star, Cavill, gives absolutely no indication that he is capable of taking over an iconic character like he will in Man of Steel. Will is a bumbling fool and Cavill’s attempts to make his foolishness appealing are dreadful. Repeat: Dreadful. In fairness, he gets very little support from the established actors around him, partly because they all have limited screentime and partly because it’s very clear that all of them only came to the set because their agents couldn’t find a way out of their respective contracts. The narrative is as paint-by-numbers as you can get as almost any viewer could predict exactly what is going to happen and when right on down to the final line of the movie. Scott Wiper and John Petro must be very proud of their work on this script. And Mabrouk El Mechri provides direction in such a way that I began to wonder if he never wanted to make an American movie again and therefore sabotaged himself. It’s that bad.
If The Cold Light of Day has any redeeming quality, it is the fact that it is mercifully short. IMDB has it pegged at 93 minutes but it’s much closer to an hour-twenty and if I’m being honest, 93 minutes might have been the death of me. At least the filmmakers got one thing right. This aside, however, The Cold Light of Day is devoid of entertainment value of any kind and I pray you’ll learn from my mistake and just stay away.
The Cold Light of Day Director: Mabrouk El Mechri Cast: Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver Rated: PG-13 (violence and language) Recommended For: People who hate Henry Cavill and want to see him suffer