The spy movie genre has been around for ages. From James Bond to Jason Bourne, it gets difficult to come up with new ideas, and “The Cold Light of Day” barely accomplishes that.
On a family boating trip, young businessman Will’s (Henry Cavill) loved ones get taken hostage. Will meets up with his father, Martin (Bruce Willis), to learn that he is a CIA agent who escaped capture. Will and Martin are unable to get help from fellow agent Carrack (Sigourney Weaver) and must find a way to save their family or pay off the kidnappers within 24 hours.
Though a mediocre-at-best spy thriller, “The Cold Light of Day” benefits from some above-average leads. Cavill, who will play Superman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” movie, has powerful emotional expression perfect for depicting a clean businessman in a life-or-death spy game. Cavill’s portrayal of fearfulness when he is pursued by assassins or enduring torture is believable. He also shows turmoil and rage when he himself has to inflict similar torture on his own prisoner soon after.
Willis and his blunt, simple acting style complements his frustrated and frightened son. Weaver shows the caliber and sternness to play the cold-blooded and nonchalant killer.
While “The Cold Light of Day” benefits from its strong leads, its story seems chock-full of dead ends. Willis does not have enough screen time for his and Cavill’s relationship to develop a more emotional impact.
The action has its ups and downs in terms of quality and intensity. Some of the nighttime fight scenes and car chases are hard to track, especially in an opening fight with only moonlight to illuminate the scene. There are a few car chases throughout, but the final chase delivers a fair amount of intriguing mayhem and twisted metal. However, the gunfights and other action scenes are hardly distinguishable from other spy and assassin films. In addition, director Mabrouk El Mechri uses unnecessary camerawork. Twisting and turning camera shots during a car wreck may serve to positively enhance disorientation in the crash, but similar camera flipping hardly feels necessary just to track a car leaving a garage.
A cast of Hollywood veterans and upcoming hopefuls may serve as strong drive to see this spy film, but as a whole, “The Cold Light of Day” may leave you out in the cold with its average spy-movie formula.
Overall rating: 2 ½ stars
A young man and his father try and rescue their kidnapped family while escaping corrupt cops and henchmen.