Those who don’t know Henry Cavill yet will discover his work soon enough. The British actor will play the title role in Man of Steel, the latest Superman incarnation due out next summer.
That leaves several months for audiences to wash their memories of The Cold Light of Day, a flimsy espionage thriller that even superpowers could not rescue.
Cavill (Immortals) plays Will, a fledgling financial trader whose vacation in Spain goes from bad to worse when his family is kidnapped by a group with unknown ties to Will’s father (Bruce Willis), who works a top-secret government job.
Eventually, he is able to trace the crime to corrupt intelligence officials including Carrack (Sigourney Weaver), a high-ranking double agent who wants the contents of a briefcase and is not afraid to throw herself into the middle of a physical confrontation.
The local authorities won’t provide assistance because of their role in a cover-up, so Will is forced to become a vigilante in an effort to discover the truth about the briefcase, save his own life and rescue his family.
By their very nature, spy movies are supposed to be filled with high-level mystery and international intrigue. Yet there’s not much mysterious or intriguing about this effort, which boils down to a mindless series of shootouts and chase sequences.
Director Mabrouk El Mechri (JCVD) ratchets up the action sequences to an absurd degree, presumably to disguise the formulaic nature of the preposterous script by Scott Wiper (The Condemned) and newcomer John Petro.
The film at least boasts some nice European scenery, but the generic action scenes are not especially stylish and the pattern of red herrings, double-crosses and near-miss showdowns with villainous henchmen becomes tiresome.
Cavill proves himself physically capable of handling the action-hero role, and his charisma is likely the major reason The Cold Light of Day escaped the direct-to-DVD scrap heap. It certainly isn’t the presence of Willis and Weaver, who obviously signed on to cash paychecks.
Besides providing an inadequate showcase for its star, the movie seems to have no higher aspiration outside of being a low-rent ripoff of the Jason Bourne series.
Rated PG-13, 93 minutes.