Will (Cavill) is a business consultant who is on the verge of losing his company and therefore in no mood for a family reunion on his parents’ boat on the Spanish coast. But he goes, and sullenly spends most of his time on his Blackberry, much to the annoyance of his father, Martin (Bruce Willis), who eventually chucks it overboard. Will goes to town to, among other things, make a phone call, but when he returns to the boat, he finds it empty and disheveled. He rushes to the police station and thinks for a minute they might help him but instead they deliver him to some shady characters who try to hustle him off somewhere. Before Will is also whisked away, his father appears and fends off the would-be kidnappers and hustles Will in a car bound for Madrid. Where are mom (Caroline Goodall), my brother (Rafi Gavron) and his girlfriend (Emma Hamilton), Will asks his dad. As Martin explains, this question may have a lot to do with the real answer to the question “Dad, what do you do for a living?” While Will thought his father was a cultural affairs officer for the embassy, he is actually a CIA agent. His recent procurement of a briefcase hiding something super secret and important has apparently ticked off people who have the means and willingness to kill his family to get it back.
As the true story of the briefcase unfolds, however, it gets a little more complicated. Martin may or may not be a turncoat, and his handler, Carrack (Sigourney Weaver), may not be what she seems either. Will soon finds himself alone in his quest to save his family, running around Madrid wanted by the police and unsure of who to trust. How about Lucia (Veronica Echegui), a Spanish woman who is also tangled up in this story somehow?
Cavill, who is going to star in the upcoming let’s-give-it-another-shot Superman reboot Man of Steel, is not a steady action lead yet. A solid performer as King Henry VIII’s sidekick in The Tudors, Cavill seems uncertain on his own. He’s all big gestures and skittishness. He has the look and build for action star status but still doesn’t feel like he completely fills the suit. “Tentative” is how I’d describe his performance overall.
Similarly, the movie itself is a shaky but moderately successful endeavor. Why Sigourney Weaver is here I’m not sure, but she adds an air of credibility to the whole thing. The story is complete and reasonably well-crafted even if it isn’t electrifying. The Cold Light of Day is a nice stab at the kind of low-pressure thriller that, say, Taken is, but without the spark that made that movie such a crackling good time. C+
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language. Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri and written by Scott Wiper and John Petro, The Cold Light of Day is an hour and 33 minutes long and is distributed by Summit Entertainment.