I know what I like in disaster films. At the least, I hope for cheap fun out of the special effects, a focus more on the disaster than on characters, and perhaps at least one slightly compelling character. Since Sylvester Stallone easily established that I would find at least one character compelling, all that was left from there was for Daaylight to acquire an interesting disaster concept and some good visuals. As with the average disaster film, Daylight is packed with many different stock characters who are all relatively meaningless and that viewers are unlikely to find a connection to, but the fact is that there are a lot of interesting settings and situations explored in the film which make it thrilling. While the insufficient script and cheap characters make it fail to succeed on much of a human level, it does at least carry a good protagonist.
The disaster concept in Daylight is somewhat interesting. It lacks the exciting potential of a lot of other big budget disaster films, but it is of a somewhat realistic manner which is what makes it effective. Of course a lot of the ridiculous heroism and scientific accuracy is unrealistic, but viewers must be willing to suspend disbelief and rational thought to enjoy a disaster film. For me, I was easily able to do that. I was bothered by the fact that there was not so much of a consistent feeling of death hanging over the characters. The movement of the film was constantly changing between quick moving scenes depicting explosions and fires, before changing to slow paced scenes with either melodrama or slow movements through the tunnels where every character has to complete some feat which is not that impressive. All in all, the focus of the story is constantly changing and the stituations are always varying, with some being exciting and others being rather dull so as a whole the film is inconsistent. The script is poor form due to all of its one-dimensional characters and weak dialogue as well as the fact that it doesn't really have a story while instead just having a series of disastrous situations, as well as the fact that its cheap attempts at characters are really not that effective whatsoever. This is somewhat problematic because the story is a relatively medium scaled one, focusing both on the survival of its characters and the inconsistent rate of disasters occuring. So the level of humanity in the film is better than in many disaster films of the 1990's era, but it still doesn't leave much of an impact. As a whole, the entire film is a rather routine and basic exercise in disaster cinema with elements of being a thriller at the same time. The situations can get boring, and there is not much beyong the surface appeal to save that.
Daylight is pretty much as good and bad as you'd expect. It has Rob Cohen as director which means that it is not very big on narrative and is a lot more focused on visuals, but luckily enough he is able to stage some impressive stunts thanks to some good scenery and production design elements, as well as the strong cinematography and editing incorporated in. The sound effects are also strong and benefit from some firm editing. So as a whole, while Daylight may not be the most exciting disaster film, it carries its basic concept far enough with strong visual elements and a mild sense of spirit. So it isn't really a guilty pleasure type film since it takes itself seriously and mostly succeeds. And though it is far from great, it is entertaining enough to pass.
The atmosphere is pretty engaging. Although the script makes the film feel somewhat artificial, the dedication from the actors manage to convey a certain extent of fearful stress in the situation. They aren't all spot on, but the majority of them make a good effort. But also, the musical score has a really strong disaster feel to it. It is intense and grasps the dark nature of the situations which bring the themes to the surface easily.
When it comes down to the cast, most of them make a decent effort. But no matter what the Golden Raspberry awards say, Sylvester Stallone is the finest cast member in Daylight. Sylvester Stallone stands extremely confident in his role. In comparison to all the other meaningless stock characters of the film, Kit Latura is the only one who stands out. While lhis lines are generic, Sylvester Stallone seamlessly steps into the role with confidence and delivers every line with a sense of charisma which suggests he understands the material all well. He is able to use his skill for firm line delivery to give a sense of understanding to his character as well as his status as a great action hero to make him the hero that Daylight really needs. He uses his muscles to a strong extent while bringing his natural heroic archetype to the role to give it a sense of aggressively determined spirit. He has a certan level of passion in the role and seems both wise and strong which is a good combination for the character. Sylvester Stallone makes a genial presence as the lead in Daylight, and he keeps things firm and serious.
Ammy Brennerman can get annoying at times though and doesn't exactly seem as if she grasps the character fully.
So Daylight is a pretty routine disaster film. It has cheap characters and a weak script, but Sylvester Stallone leading the journey and some impressive technical elements.