Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Cold Light of Day

So What's Your Next Paid Gig?

There is only one reason why this film got its release now, and that's to pique interest in the body of work the new Man of Steel is being featured in, never mind what production it would be. The Cold Light of Day boasts of big names in Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver which would hopefully bring in the crowds, but in truth one of them disappears after 20 minutes, while the other had no more than 20 minutes tops in screen time in the entire film. Talk about the new Supes riding on the coattails of others, who are obviously in this because it helps pay the bills.

Henry Cavill stars as a man (yes, the film is really that bland) with an affinity for Blackberry as his primary communications tool, and a penchant for Coca Cola. At least those are the brands his Will character endorses in the early introduction to his character, who is dreading a family get together on a private yacht cruise in Spain. We learn he's not on good terms with his dad Martin (played by Bruce Willis), but they largely get out of each other's way save for a little accident in which Will's brother's girlfriend received a bump on the head on board the sailing vessel, and Will had volunteered to get some cream for it.

Things start to go wrong when he couldn't find the yacht, or when he did, everyone on board had disappeared. Time is spent trying to track them down, in which he learns that there are people after him, his dad is a secret operative for the CIA, and finally, there's a mysterious briefcase that everyone seemed to be after. He's clueless and oblivious to all these issues, and the agendas that different parties have, but has a sole objective in wanting to get his family back regardless the cost. So he gets thrust into the limelight, and have to learn everything there is to learn about the spy business, in double quick time on the job, meeting up with adversaries and allies who would aim him in his quest.

If you have bought a ticket to the film because of Willis and Weaver, then you had bitten hard onto the bait laid down by the filmmakers. These two actors have been popping up in various films of various genres of late, whether 5 minutes or 50 minutes, depending on the size of the paycheck, and the screen time they are allocated. Here, neither did anything that had sealed their fifteen minutes of fame, and I suspect if they continue in roles like these, it will just hit their careers, not as if they're not already spiralling downward.

Henry Cavill may have the looks and physique to play the Man of Steel next year, but his performance here is largely one note, coupled with a lacklustre screenplay written by Scott Wiper and John Petro that didn't seem to know how to craft a suspenseful spy thriller even if their lives depended on it. Cavill spends most of his time bumming around from point to point, having crucial plot elements revealed to him under very convenient terms and timing, and it felt as if director Mabrouk El Mechri (who did the excellent JCVD by the way), with the lack of material bolstering a film, had to lead the audiences utilizing the best of what he has, even if it meant leaving large gaps of plot holes, and having really zero character motivation, not even clear cut objectives, basking in revelations that are proudly revealed as plot twists. Which they are not.

Then there's the lack of movie logic at play as well, where Weaver should be getting an award for one of the worst screen villains that she had played, ever. There's nothing too exciting about this action thriller given action choreography that's already either been seen elsewhere before or looking really dated, and a cinematography that could have been grossly improved to make it look like it's not being shot by an amateur with a home video camcorder. Henry Cavill may not have opportunities now to pick and choose his projects, but hopefully his dual role as Clark Kent / Superman would enable some demonstration of acting chops, and open more doors to better scripts that would challenge him as an actor. You have been warned.

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