Making a spy thriller is easy. Making a good spy thriller is hard. Making a bad spy thriller with good actors is even more difficult, yet that’s what The Cold Light of Day turns out to be.
Henry Cavill is “Will,” who has just journeyed to Spain to spend a week with his father, mother and brother on a sailboat. He owns a business that’s in trouble at home, but his presence was demanded and he acquiesced. His father “Martin” (Bruce Willis) and mother “Laurie” (Caroline Goodall) live there, as Martin works at the U.S. Embassy as some kind of cultural attaché. Will’s brother is there and so, unexpectedly, is his brother’s girlfriend.
Everything seems idyllic until Will swims to shore to go to town for something and returns to find the boat is gone. He tries to enlist the aid of the local police, but that doesn’t go well and Will ends up on the run. He ultimately finds his father and learns that all was not as it seemed.
Dad is really a CIA operative and he’s involved with terrorists who want to get their hands on a briefcase. Martin is trying to get someone he works with named “Carrack” (Sigourney Weaver) to help him out. Seems the terrorists have kidnapped Laurie, Will’s brother and girlfriend, and will kill them if they don’t get the briefcase. Carrack seems helpful but soon Martin has been killed and Will is being pursued through the streets of Madrid as he tries to save his family.
This is a vehicle for Cavill (the new Man of Steel) and it’s one he might have wanted to test-drive before signing the lease. Weaver makes a fine villain and does a nice turn as the ‘crook’ but there are far too many flaws in the story to attempt to list here. The action is adequate but the visuals are choppy and please suspend your disbelief in the lobby or suffer accordingly. There is an attempt at a clever plot twist, and it’s not bad… but it’s not brilliant either.
You may prefer to enjoy the bright sunlight outside the auditorium to The Cold Light of Day inside.