Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I guess the French just do this run and gun thrilling better.  I'm telling you man, all of the really good action thrillers I've seen in the last half dozen or so years have come from France and heck if I know why.  But I was holding out hope for this one, 'The Cold Light of Day', for no reason in particular outside of the fact that Bruce Willis shows up for a minute or two and is an actor who knows a thing about action thrillers.  This one was also directed by Mabrouk El Mechri who helmed the outstanding 'JCVD', but then that wasn't an action thriller.  What I'm saying is that 'The Cold Light of Day', while certainly passable as a marginal piece of time-wasting entertainment, just doesn't measure up to the really good action thrillers we seen recently.  Most of which come from France.  Go figure. 

Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) is one pissed off and angry young man.  Why?  Hell if we know.  He's young, good looking, white, fit, well to do and he's just got off an airplane to spend some quality vacation time with his family while lounging on the Spanish Riviera on his dad's boat.  Oh that's right, he and his dad Martin (Willis) don't get along.  Waaah… I guess he's also gotten word that his little business back stateside has gone bankrupt but he was pissed off and angry long before he got that news.

So the family, which includes his mom, his little brother and his brother's girl, are having a goodtime, except Will of course, when his dad asks him to something really simple like handle the boat steering wheel.  It's not called a steering wheel, but my nautical knowledge is limited.  Regardless, Will couldn't do this one simple thing, the mast goes haywire, the girlfriend bumps her head, dad is pissed, Will is pissed that dad
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is pissed and now this movie's most important attribute gets underway.  You see, Will has to jump off the boat and swim to shore to get some meds to treat the girlfriends bloody forehead and here we get to see what a great athlete Henry Cavill as he will execute almost every conceivable athletic endeavor that a human can pull off during this movies running time.

Anyway, Will gets back to the shore, notices the boat is gone, swims some more for no real reason other than he can, panics because his family is missing, sprints to the police station for help and receives nothing but grief.  Turns out his family has been abducted, and he knows this because his dad, not being the cultural attaché he thought he was, but instead is a rouge CIA agent and has stolen something and these bad people want it back or the family is dead.  Simple enough.

Dad would like to retrieve this McGuffin to save his family, I mean he even contacted his chief handler in Jean the government shrew (Sigourney Weaver) to help out, but she was of very little assistance.  As the situation shakes out, it looks like it's going to be up to Will all by his lonesome to make this thing happen and save his family, and Will is not a kick-ass CIA agent, just a super athletic business consultant.  During his running escapades Will will meet Lucia (Veronica Echegui) the films de-facto hottie who will tagalong on the adventure for a little while though oddly enough there will be no romantic involvement between the two, even though we don't think Will is gay.  Regardless, Will Shaw will run, jump, swim, drive fast, get shot, punched, choked out, stabbed, and he will run some more all in an effort to save his family.

Even though 'The Cold Light of Day' is getting beat up pretty good right now, critically speaking, I personally didn't think it was all that bad… just run of the mill.  This is a movie that doesn't add much of anything to the genre that you haven't seen many times over, and done much better, but at least it is competent.  It would probably help one's enjoyment factor of this film to be a big fan Henry Cavill and his running ability.  I mean this cat got into a footrace with a cop on horseback and won.  Even Superman might have trouble with that one. 

We often chastise certain movies for being overly complicated when simple is almost always better, but a good thriller needs a few cleverly thrown in twists here and there and 'The Cold Light of Day' doesn't give us any of that as it is simple and straightforward to a fault.  There is a little misdirection tossed in, basically involving why the characters of Will and Lucia aren't getting down, but honesty that didn't really add any heft to the story.  We also have the occasional gaping plot hole or two, which probably shouldn't happen in straight forward action thriller that is basically about one dude running really fast from point A to point B over and over again, but there they were nonetheless.  So recognizing that the contents of the mysterious case are really unimportant in the grand scheme of things, still we are forced to wonder why the U.S. Government is in Spain brokering Silver Case deals with terrorist, while undercutting Mossad in the process.  I guess.  Who knows.  The one time this movie tries to get slick it screws it all up.

But the truth of the matter is I didn't despise 'The Cold Light of Day' if only because I'm easily entertained.  There are much better thrillers out there, no doubt, but we did find this one marginally tolerable.  That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but that's all we got.
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