The Cold Light of Day treads the usual action-hero territory
Starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver. Rated PG. Now playing
Next summer, Henry Cavill will be presented to us as Man of Steel in the new Superman update. For now, though, we have the Brit-born actor, late of The Tudors, as another ordinary, if unusually hunky, schmo caught up in circumstances beyond his design.
In The Cold Light of Day, he speaks American as Will Shaw, a California businessman reunited with his parents and li’l brother for a brief vacation on the Spanish Mediterranean just as his unspecified company is crumbling. His dad turns out to be Bruce Willis, so you can guess that more than market forces are at work. Sure enough, when most of the family goes missing, Will learns that papa was a rolling, and possibly rogue, CIA dude. Somebody desperately wants a briefcase filled with vital documents—so much for the paperless office—and, consequently, said schmo will have to get re-Bourne as a spy-action hero.
Fans of Mabrouk El Mechri’s cult fave JCVD might hope that the hyperkinetic French director is doing a similar send-up for Willis, who has a far better wink than Jean-Claude Van Damme. But Willis is one of the Expendables here, and our befuddled young hero quickly trades in bad daddy for a mother figure from hell, a crooked agency honcho played by someone who knows all about slimy mamas: Sigourney Weaver.
More family issues are raised when the kid hooks up with a willowy Spaniard (Verónica Echegui) who is actually his half sister, dammit. She’s pretty feisty when we first meet her, after one of innumerable noisy chases through sunny Madrid, but she soon settles into the usual pretty tagalong. And Will—or “Wheel”, as she calls him—doesn’t really fare much better in the blankness department. There’s a laughable attempt at the end to spin the emptily titled tale as a franchise, but on this evidence, our supposedly super Henry raises more cavils than kudos.
Watch the trailer for The Cold Light of Day.