Movie Review

The Cold Light of Day

Instinct is his greatest weapon.
The Cold Light of Day Movie Poster

US Release Date: 09-07-2012

Directed by: Mabrouk El Mechri


  • Henry Cavill
  • Will
  • Veronica Echegui
  • Lucia
  • Bruce Willis
  • Martin
  • Sigourney Weaver
  • Carrack
  • Joseph Mawle
  • Gorman
  • Caroline Goodall
  • Laurie
  • Rafi Gavron
  • Josh
  • Emma Hamilton
  • Dara
  • Michael Budd
  • Esmael
  • Roschdy Zem
  • Zahir
  • Oscar Jaenada
  • Maximo
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: November 16th, 2012
Henry Cavill can't outrun the bad decision to star in The Cold Light of Day.

Henry Cavill can't outrun the bad decision to star in The Cold Light of Day.

The Cold Light of Day is a generic thriller with a poorly written script, some lack luster action scenes, and some badly acted, two-dimensional characters that it's impossible to care about. Were it not for the inclusion of two fairly big names in the persons of Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, it would be completely unremarkable, although neither of those two stars do much to improve this weak movie.

Upcoming Man of Steel star, Henry Cavill stars as Will, an American in Spain who gets in way over his head when he becomes involved with the world of espionage. His father, played by Bruce Willis, in what turns out to be an extended cameo, is in the CIA and he has a briefcase that some Israeli commandos want. They kidnap Will's family and want him to get the briefcase for them. It's a man who knew too little or too much type of plot that Hitchcock and others have done much better than this. 

Cavill is tall, good looking and in great physical shape. It's just a shame that he has no personality or acting ability. I only hope, for the sake of the Superman franchise, that it's because of the poor script and direction and that in the right hands he'll be able to give some depth to The Man of Steel. Maybe it's partly the English Cavill having to maintain an American accent during the course of the film that caused his performance to be so bad, but surely that can't be all of it.

Certainly Bruce Willis, in tight-lipped serious mode, demonstrates more charisma in his 10 minutes of screentime than Cavill does in the entire 90 minutes. I'd have enjoyed the movie more if their parts had been reversed and the father had to finish the son's job.

Sigourney Weaver seems to be making a living these days by playing morally questionable espionage agents. She's playing the same thankless role here that she played in Taylor Lautner's Abduction, only with less dialogue. Apart from one scene of dialogue early on, she mainly spends her time trying shoot and kill Cavill, and unfortunately failing.

The story is set in Spain, and Madrid is shown off to good advantage as Cavill is chased across the city. The beaches and bay around Valencia also looks appealing. Although the Spanish Tourist Board might find the lack of police and the ease at which the CIA and the Israeli Intelligence forces can blow up and kill with impunity around their country to be a little offputting.

While some of the action scenes are mildly entertaining, others are less so. The shaky camera work that has become required of these types of movies since The Bourne Supremacy, is on display here and it, combined with the flashing lights in the disco, is nearly migraine inducing.

Although the film runs only 90 minutes, it feels longer. This is the type of movie that should have gone straight to video (or just not made at all). It's slickly packaged, but poorly put together. My advice is to avoid it at all costs.

Reviewed on: January 29th, 2013
Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill in The Cold Light of Day

Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill in The Cold Light of Day

I enjoyed this film more than Scott. It starts with an interesting mystery of the missing family. Cavill has no clue who to trust as he runs for his life. The pacing moves along very quickly from one action sequence to another. I agree with Scott though, that the plot is not without flaws.

Near the beginning, Cavill escapes by stealing a police car and driving through the country at night, pursued by police. He crashes into a tree where the police catch up to him. Willis suddenly appears out of nowhere to help him out. Amazing how he knew exactly where Cavill was going to crash the car. A similar, and even wilder, coincidence happens at the end of the film. After an extensive car chase all over Madrid, Cavill and Weaver just happen to crash their vehicles right where some Israeli soldiers have been waiting. Those soldiers must be as psychic as Willis.

As for Cavill, he is adequate. He fulfills his acting obligations, looking frustrated or scared when he needs to. For better or for worse, he really looks as if he is giving it his all. The problem is that there is no character behind his desperation. All that we know of Will is that he is not close to his father and his business has just gone under. Considering where the plot goes, neither of those points make any difference to the story.  As comfortable as he seems holding a gun, they should have made him a cop or ex-military.

I wanted very much to like this movie and on a superficial level I did. The premise is entertaining enough, with plenty of action and plot twists to distract you. I like Scott's idea of having Willis be the one to finish what his son had started. In the scene where Weaver says to Cavill, "Put the gun down Will. You're scared and scared people holding guns in my face scare me." Willis would have sounded very natural saying Cavill's response, "Then this is going to be a nerve wracking conversation."

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