A messy, too banal product-placement of a spy thriller makes The Bourne Legacy look rather masterful and quite intelligible by comparison.
Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver headline The Cold Light of Day, as the upcoming magnetic transformative lead in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel tries to wet some viewers appetites in action-hero mode; one who initially is a bit uneasy with a firearm.
Cavill's Wall Street trader Will Shaw has fallen on economic hard times and joins his family in Spain, including cultural attache yacht-loving father Martin (Willis, better in the box-office winning The Expendables 2), and their relationship isn't the best of late when a cell phone gets wet. After a swim to shore Will finds the family seafaring vessel empty and learns of their captivity with his father a former government agent.
The convoluted, yet fairly easily forecasted plot puts Will on the clock to retrieve an important briefcase as the main action which for the most part is too murky and doesn't overall use its Madrid setting well enough with few sunnier interludes. Cavill gets to be like the Aaron Cross or Jason Bourne character to display his virile carnal aplomb as he gets help from an alluring, spunky Lucia (Veronica Echegui) on the run from authorities for the death of a cop. Weaver, who is getting praise for her work on the small-screen Political Animals, is the perfidious intelligence agent Jean Carrick (who worked with Martin) dying to get her hands on that briefcase.
French director Mabrouk El Machri (check out his JCVD with Jean-Claude Van Damme) tries to make something dextrous from a muddled script deadened in part by an early revelation which makes it hard to care as Cavill (more vapid here than his turn as Theseus in the stylish, if saturnine Immortals) goes from somewhat likable as the uptight to less so in this rarely interesting rescue mission. Apparently Willis and especially Weaver understood the quality of the material to phone in their performances and enjoy the serene Spanish sights having committed to what is stale and unrealized Euro-trash; like Cavill for them it's probably just a minor hiccup in what wouldn't have (theatrically) made the cold light of day if someone like Jean Carrick stepped into its preproduction meetings.