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The Cold Light of Day(2012)
Story of Will Shaw, a young Wall Street trader whose family is kidnapped on a vacation to Spain. He's left with only hours to find them, uncover a government conspiracy and the connection between their disappearance and his father's secrets.
For more about The Cold Light of Day and the The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray release, see the The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 31, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writer: Scott Wiper
Starring: Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Verónica Echegui, Roschdy Zem, Joseph Mawle
» See full cast & crew
The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 31, 2013
Henry Cavill is about to become a lot better known once the upcoming Man of Steel goes wide and Cavill becomes the latest incarnation of Clark Kent AKA Superman. But lingering in Cavill's filmography will be this pretty deadly piece of Kryptonite which may always serve to remind the actor that it doesn't really matter how well you do in any given film if the film itself is a general mess. The Cold Light of Day lurches from improbability to improbability with such breathless élan that some might assume the film is actually supposed to be a sort of wink-wink comedy rather than a desperate spy thriller. Full of somber dialogue and increasingly ridiculous action set pieces, The Cold Light of Day proves that even incredibly scenic locations and a charismatic cast don't necessarily add up to a cohesive entertainment. Shot entirely in Spain, one has to assume that heavyweights like Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, not to mention a respected character actor like Colm Meaney, were simply looking for a little paid vacation in Iberia to spice up their year. There's really no other rational reason any of these actors should be in something this dunderheaded. Cavill at least has the excuse of being more relatively at the beginning of his film career, when such decisions are more apt to be made in light of beefing up one's resumé, and while Cavill makes an appealing enough action presence, the action itself is built on such a shaky foundation that a veritable house of illogical cards teeters precariously for the bulk of the film. If it never actually collapses, it may simply be because no one is really paying much attention by the time it's in its death throes.
There's an old folktale sometimes called The Vanishing Hotel Room which has been repeatedly dramatized through the years in a number of films as well as several television series such as the old Twilight Zone knockoff One Step Beyond and, more recently, Beyond Belief. In this story, a mother and daughter arrive at a Paris hotel and check in, but the mother becomes ill and the daughter is sent scrambling on a wild goose chase for medicine, finally returning to the hotel only to find that all traces of her mother, and even the room which she had checked into, have disappeared, with everyone insisting that the mother never existed in the first place. Something very similar takes place in the first act of The Cold Light of Day, after we get the requisite introductions of the obviously fairly dysfunctional Shaw family.
Father Martin (Bruce Willis) welcomes son Will (Henry Cavill) at a Spanish airport in a somewhat awkward and distant moment, and the two then drive to the Shaw family sloop, which is where a long planned family reunion is scheduled to take place. Already there are Will's little brother Josh (Rafi Gavron), Josh's girlfriend Dara (Emma Hamilton), and Will's mother Laurie (Caroline Goodall). Will is obviously deeply distressed by a series of cell phone calls he's been receiving, and in a contentious family dinner reveals that his company has just gone bankrupt. The next day while out sailing, Will's obsession with his phone leads to a near fatal accident where Dara is injured. Will jumps off the boat to swim to a nearby town to get medicine, and (yep, you guessed it), when he returns there is no sign of the boat or any of his family members.
Will, obviously frantic, finally manages to spot the boat in a nearby cove (just the first of many improbable coincidences), but the Spanish police are strangely nonplussed until they hear his surname, at which point they jump into action. Observant viewers will notice in this scene that the police chief who suddenly agrees to help Will mentions the Shaw family boat despite there having been no previous discussion of what exactly is going on, which may or may not be an unintentional goof, as what ensues is a massive conspiracy "thriller" that strains credulity to the point of ridiculousness. When Will gets to the beach nearest the boat, there's a mysterious man waiting, at which point Will's "Spidey Sense" alerts him to the fact that something is terribly wrong, so of course he steals the police car and tries to escape.
At this point Martin magically reenters the proceedings, beats the chasing police to within an inch of their lives, rescues his son, and reveals that he is not in fact a low level career embassy worker, but instead is a CIA agent. Martin also reveals that something he has done has resulted in the rest of the Shaw family (and Dara) having been kidnapped and held for ransom by some really bad people. Martin makes a number of intense calls on his cell phone and quickly meets up with an obviously two faced CIA superior named Carrack (Sigourney Weaver, once again in her stern villainess mode). Without giving away too much about this already extremely predictable outing, let's just say that what happens next reduces Willis' appearance to little more than a cameo.
The rest of The Cold Light of Day features Will running from both the evil baddies at the CIA as well as the evil baddies who have kidnapped his family, all the while trying to figure out what exactly his father has been mixed up in. In one of the few decent developments this film has to offer, the hot Spanish babe (Veronica Echegui) his ends up working with does not turn out to be a romantic interest, but for reasons that only further strain credulity. (Question: if your mother discovered your father had had a "second" family with children, would she just sanguinely accept that child as part of her extended family without even a niggling qualm? I thought not.)
The Cold Light of Day is so patently ludicrous, especially in its third act, that any putative suspense is blown away by the warm breeze of reason. Aren't CIA operatives supposed to be undercover? What devolves here is Carrack madly wreaking havoc through major Spanish metropolises, shooting innocent passers-by and smashing her car through any number of priceless historical buildings, all in an attempt to keep Will from revealing what he knows. One assumes that all of this damage has considerably added to our already dangerously high national debt.
The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Cold Light of Day is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. The film itself may be a turgid mess, but to paraphrase Billy Crystal's old Fernando Lamas impersonation, for the most part it looks "mah-velous". This Super 35 shot feature boasts excellent fine detail throughout this high definition presentation, with a lushly saturated palette and a refreshing lack of over aggressive color grading in post. A number of extreme close-ups are clear enough to provide ample opportunity to count the pores on the faces of Cavill and Willis, if you're so inclined. Some of the establishing shots and "shaky cam" effects are a bit softer and more ragged than the bulk of this presentation but director Mabrouk el Mechri and cinematographer Remi Adafarasin do an exceptional job in utilizing the Spanish locations to great advantage.
The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Cold Light of Day's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 provides all the bombast that lovers of this particular genre of film will be expecting. A couple of the set pieces are rather remarkably assembled from a foley standpoint, including two chase sequences, one with Sigourney Weaver chasing our intrepid heroes who are on a little scooter and, later, our intrepid heroes chasing Weaver in her SUV. Panning effects wash through the surrounds and a number of panicked crowd reactions as well as various sounds of buildings and other objects being decimated explode in every conceivable direction. Dialogue is clearly presented and the mix features both excellent fidelity and smart prioritization.
The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Cold Light of Day becomes so patently ridiculous so quickly that it undercuts any chance of developing real suspense, or even a palpable sense of threat surrounding Cavill's character. More akin to a cartoon or graphic novel come to life, the film has some well staged action sequences and some really pretty locations, but in terms of storytelling offers little more than a halfhearted joke. Willis and Weaver have both had their share of lame brained choices through the years, so maybe Cavill is simply following in a well developed tradition.
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The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Cold Light of Day Blu-ray - November 5, 2012
Lionsgate Films will bring to Blu-ray director Mabrouk El Mechri's Thge Cold Light of Day (2012), starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, and Verónica Echegui. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the nation on January ...
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