After a string of duff career experiments, Sly revives his most successful persona - average, blue-collared joe battling against the odds. And it's his biggest turkey since Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot.
The script starts well, boasting some decent character set-ups (the first of many nods to Irwin Allen's old disaster blueprint), but, almost as soon as the tunnel collapses, Daylight degenerates into a rib-tickling laugh riot. A busload of hardened convicts are terrorised by a dangling electric cable; a cute dog turns into the hound from Atlantis, popping up alive after 20 minutes underwater; and, most mirthfully of all, Latura tries to cheat death by performing a "blowout".
Stallone's discredited Latura is the latest in a snaking line of misunderstood Sly leads, all searching for redemption via selfless superheroics (see First Blood, Lock Up, Cliffhanger and others). This time around he may not kick any "ass", but he pulls as many of those self-sacrificing, puppy-dog expressions as he ever did. Claire Bloom is lumbered with a scene-for-scene reprise of Shelley Winters' signature role in The Poseidon Adventure, and Amy Brenneman chucks a Caruso in her shrieking, one-note part as Latura's right-hand woman. Viggo Mortensen is the only player to emerge with any credit.
In the hands of a John McTiernan, the double burden of duff script and bum acting may not have proved fatal, but Rob Cohen is out of his depth on this kind of cash-draining star project. Despite resurrecting every cliché in its moribund genre, Daylight is a nearly toothless drama undermined by Hollywood's insane craving for happy endings. What's the point in a movie about life-threatening disaster if the shattering climax is a foregone conclusion?
How did a guy smart enough to write the original Rocky end up in horsemeat like this? The plot is painfully derivative and the characters humourless ciphers saddled with lamentable dialogue. Worst of all, Daylight commits the ultimate sin for a big-budget slice of Hollywood action - - it's boring.