, Port Arthur, Texas

September 14, 2012

Shouldn’t have seen ‘Light of day’

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— It should go without saying that I see a lot of films each year in my capacity as a film critic. Some of the films are superb. Some are mediocre yet still entertaining. A few of them are simply bad. Then there are those films where everything seems to have gone completely wrong, despite high-profile actors and a budget that should have ensured otherwise.

As you might guess, that’s what’s going on with “The Cold Light of Day.” This is a very bad film, and while it isn’t quite the worst thing I’ve seen all year, given the talent involved, it’s certainly one of the most disappointing films from recent memory.

This tepid thriller tells the story of a businessman named Will (Henry Cavill) who’s on a sailing vacation with his family in Spain. When Will goes to town for supplies, generic Euro-thugs kidnap his family. They demand that Will track down and turn over a mysterious briefcase or else he’ll never see his family again. Will doesn’t know what’s going on, but he’s determined to find out, even if that means unearthing a few family secrets along the way.

It’s a good thing that Will is so intrigued, because I assure you that nobody in the audience will be even remotely interested in following the film’s convoluted plot. Even the ending, which should have been an easy bit of excitement to send us out with a bang, turns out to be an anticlimactic letdown.

Even the worst action thrillers are generally entertaining because they feature some pulse-pounding chase or fight sequences. “The Cold Light of Day” features such scenes, but they are filmed in such a bland and meandering style that I found my mind wandering even at the height of the excitement.

The acting isn’t any better. Cavill is supposed to be a budding movie star (he is the next Superman, after all) but in this film, he has all the charisma of a wet plank of wood. That’s readily apparent in the minimal screen time that he shares with co-star Bruce Willis, an actor who is always fun to watch on film. Sadly, this is not a Bruce Willis or even a Sigourney Weaver movie, so we’re stuck watching Cavill’s truly bad performance. It’s hard to care about a film when you don’t care whether its hero succeeds or fails.

By now, you’ve probably deduced that I didn’t like “The Cold Light of Day” very much. It’s more than just indifference to a mediocre movie. This is a bad film where everything seems to have gone horribly wrong. Story, dialogue and acting combine for a very long hour and a half. I will give the film credit for a few beautiful shots of the ocean, but you can get the same thing in a tourism brochure.

Save your money. Better films will be coming to theaters soon. Heaven knows that they can’t be much worse then “The Cold Light of Day.”

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at