The Cold Light of Day (PG-13)
The Cold Light of Day: Brought to you by the Madrid Film Tax Credit Production Office and the Society for the Promotion of Henry Cavill as the Next Big Thing!
What's that? You've never heard of Henry Cavill? You missed Immortals and The Tudors? Well, you'll know him soon.
He's playing Superman in Zack Snyder's reboot next year. And you can bet that the Society was über-excited by the injection of more Cavill kickass ahead of that, though it should be aghast to discover that Cold Light is as generic as store-brand corn flakes.
The flick was dumped unceremoniously into European theaters this past spring, where it sank without a trace, and is now being ushered quietly into U.S. multiplexes on what is traditionally the slowest weekend of the year, because it could totally spoil Man of Steel if everyone realizes early that Cavill may be a dud.
Look, for a boy from the Channel Islands, Cavill plays all-American just fine. And being nice-to-look-at is no bad thing when it comes to The Movies. But that may be all Cavill is, if Cold Light is any indication. It's pathetic, really, how Bruce Willis blows Cavill off the screen so effortlessly, how he is more memorable with next to no screen time, how by the end, you're lamenting its deplorable lack of Willis-ness.
See, Cavill's Will arrives in Spain to visit his parents — Willis and Caroline Goodall — and almost instantly learns the hard way that Dad is actually a CIA agent. And not regular CIA, but part of "a special branch of the Agency" that is up to a whole lotta no good. Will then gets stuck having to track down the MacGuffin briefcase that certain bad guys want, that CIA Dad stole, in order to get back his family, whom the bad guys have kidnapped.
The briefcase is so utterly MacGuffinnish that the script tries to turn it into a joke — like it's akin to whatever was in the trunk in Repo Man or something. But that falls even flatter than everything that came before it. Which is: punches thrown! gunshots ricocheting! car chases careening!
It's all simultaneously breathless and pointless ... except when Will, who is just a regular business guy, ends up doing some Bourne-esque crap that he shouldn't be capable of. Then it's ridiculous.
Unless, oh crap: There's hints that maybe Will's business may be rather nefarious, and there's an attempt, at the very end, to set up some sort of movie franchise in which Will takes up his father's Company mantle.
Please, let this not happen. Ever.
These kids today, with their Bruce Willis dads showing them up ...
The Cold Light of Day is the sort of bland blahness that makes you figure that, just as pharmaceutical companies have long lists of potential drug names just waiting for the right pill to come along, Hollywood had lists of movie titles awaiting a movie to slap them on. The film title means absolutely nothing here, but it kinda sounds like a James Bond movie, don't it?
Hollywood hopes you'll be fooled by this into imagining there's something exciting to behold here. I am here to tell you: There isn't.