With the burnish his star once embodied all but an barely visible memory, largely thanks to the seductive and deep pocketed likes of 50 Cent and Avi Lerner (among others), good to see Bruce Willis in a B-film that hasn’t substituted substance and style for foreign pre-sales for once.
Not to say “Cold Light of Day” is a return to form for the over-exposed “Die Hard” star, but as opposed to some of the direct to video drivel he has been in lately, the ageing heartthrob at least walks away with his dignity intact this time – but probably only because he’s only in it for 20 minutes, at which point the movie dies… hard.
Like most of the stuff he does these days (he seems to enjoy the $5 million for 3 days work, understandably), Willis isn’t the headline act here. He’s merely a bookend character that’s been thrown into the mix to add gravitas to a meekly entertaining step-up from Taylor Lautner vehicle “Abduction”.
Henry Cavill, the next Superman, is our hero. He plays Will, a young Wall Street trader who, while holidaying in Spain, is forced to ‘man up’ and rescue his family from a group of terrorists. Seems Dad (Willis) is really a C.I.A agent, and not your otherwise non-descript patriarch, and he’s been in possession of a briefcase – containing something or other – that the rogues want. Supes then has to play swapsies.
Sigourney Weaver, back in ‘as long as it’s cash-in-hand’ mode, plays a sinister colleague of Spy Bruce.
Nicely shot and structured by Mabrouk El Mechri, but based on a really lazy script by Scott Wiper and John Petro, “Cold Light of Day” is essentially another variation on the ‘Oh shit, a member of my family is a spy!’ subgenre, which was given a workout most recently in aforesaid “Abduction” (but most notably, in underrated ’80s gem “Little Nikita”), which near always feature a fairly average American who, almost instantaneously, quickly picks up the skills and intelligence of a veteran master spy. In this case, you’ve a seemingly dull, loser Wall Street-type who has the ability to channel Jason Bourne once he gets a bit anxious.
While everyone here, including Cavill, Willis and director El Mechri, try their best, it’s the unimposing and somewhat dull script that loosens the tight knot that’s wound together in the film’s reasonably gripping opening minutes. In fact, the moment Willis walks out of frame, said film dissolves into the drivel it’ll be remembered for (More verification that Willis calls the shots, regardless of his position, on any film he works on – so long as he’s on set?).
“Cold Light” is significantly better than most of the DTV stuff of late (even some widely-released action fare – like “Killer Elite”), but it still isn’t completely devoid of eye-rolling cheese and chore-some pop without plot. Much of it is an excuse to let off prop guns in exotic locations, and have a guy that looks good shirtless do some daring stunts (or look like he is, anyway), but if you go in expecting nothing more than slickly-done skirmishes, I guess you’ll be pleased enough.
See it to preview the new Superman, not for the substandard story.
Extras : (Unpreviewed)