Today: April 13, 2024

The Cold Light Of Day

The genre of the action thriller has changed.

The genre of the action thriller has changed.
It used to be you could put Arnold
Schwarzenegger
in a tricky situation and watch him single-handedly dispatch
an army of goons with a never-ending stream of bullets. Okay, to an extent those films still
exist, only now Arnie has teamed with Sly
Stallone
and it’s all slightly tongue in cheek. But the more serious action thrillers had to evolve, roll with
the Jason Bournes and make sure they
challenged the audience to keep up.
The Cold Light Of Day doesn’t do this. Instead it sets up an interesting premise and then routinely
bores it to tears, leaving a wake of bodies behind it. Oh, and it stars other ‘80s action man Bruce Willis who doesn’t do nearly
enough killing or wise cracking.

Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) is a stockbroker whose
company is rapidly failing, just as he arrives in Spain for a family sailing
holiday. With his strict father
Martin (Bruce Willis) frowning upon
his son being glued to his phone, the two rapidly fall out. Taking time to cool off, Will returns
to the boat only to discover his family have been kidnapped. After a misguided attempt at reporting
it to the police, Will is accosted by a gang of spies who tell him that dear
old dad is a CIA agent and had in his possession a brief case with valuable
information inside. Enter shady,
CIA honcho Jean Carrack (Sigourney
Weaver
) who needs the briefcase for herself. So with all manner of nefarious types after him, a long-lost
sister in tow and a healthy dose of daddy issues to work through, Will sets off
on quest to get the case, save his family and stop the bad guys.

You would think a
film where Die Hard’s John McClane plays, the soon to be, Superman’s dad would
have a smidgen of thrills about it.
You would think the action would take your breath away. You would hope the plot might grab you
by the short and curlys and drag you on a break-neck adventure. You’d be wrong.

The Cold Light Of
Day is an utterly misguided mess of a movie. Bar the opening ten minutes, in which the Shaw family
chemistry is vaguely fun and entertaining, the film feels as if it has been
written by a bunch of school kids.
And then he gets a gun, and then his dad shoots someone, and then he
drives a car really quickly!

The action is
clunky and all too often edited to the point of clearly cutting around genuine
incident to keep the budget down.
The result is a thrill-less collection of set pieces with no originality
and the occasional embarrassing bit of shoddy CGI. Furthermore, the dialogue is so contrived that towards the
end, Will shouts, “Oh my God” no less than three times during a car chase.
THREE TIMES! In the space of five
minutes! Couldn’t the writers have
given him a variation to highlight his concern?

Thrillers are
supposed to be just that; thrilling.
But The Cold Light Of Day feels more akin to one of those long car journeys
you had as a kid. It forces you to
sit there demanding to know, “Are we there yet?”. It wants to be a Jason Bourne
style ride across exotic locations but feels more like a National Lampoon’s
European Vacation, without the funny bits.

Bourne has survival
skills, Bond has gadgets, Ethan Hunt has his IMF team. Henry Cavill’s Will has a series of
bad, ill fitting T-shirts and about as much chance of making it through this
ordeal as a cat fighting a combine harvester. At one point he actually struggles to open a fire
escape. So how does he stay alive
with no training, no weapons and no clue? Blind luck combined with villains so inept they make Dr.
Evil, from Austin Powers, look like a veritable Adolf Hilter.

It’s unfair to judge
the acting talent on offer, the script they are asked to work with is so
contrived they never stood a chance.
Cavill spends most of the film looking pumped up but moronic. Willis gives a typical, if fleeting,
rendition of his gruff at the world persona and only Sigourney Weaver comes out
unscathed based simply on the fact she seems to be taking nothing seriously.

The Cold Light Of
Day is a clunky, soul-less, mess of a film. Skipping from one chase to the next without ever trying to
present anything resembling real characters or interesting story. Chilling, in all the wrong ways.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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