Cosmic Sin review: Bruce Willis can’t recreate Armageddon magic

Cosmic Sin is a motion picture quantifiable by its withouts. With no funny bone, experience, or paradox. With no dedication to picturing an Earth that is tangibly various in 2524, the year the movie is set. With no effort at all displayed by costar Bruce Willis, whose traditional late-career absence of interest in his own movie work reaches a brand-new zenith here. And without almost adequate Frank Grillo! Our existing B-movie king is the 2nd floating head on this movie’s poster, however that’s a regrettable hint for how Grillo invests the majority of Cosmic Sin, which is separated in area, far from all the other characters. Amongst a variety of indeterminable filmmaking options made by director Edward Drake, sidelining Grillo in favor of Willis may be the worst one.

Cosmic Sin looks like a go back to the 1990s sci-fi B-movies that hardly appeared in theaters prior to settling into their bespoke 11 p.m.-on-UPN timeslot. There’s a getting into alien force, a disgraced general who is getting another opportunity, myriad zany area impacts, and a female researcher who’s exposed as being remarkably busty. All those aspects need to recognize to any of us who invested late nights taking in box-office bombs like 1995’s Errors, 1996’s Area Truckers, or 1998’s Deep Increasing.

However what Cosmic Sin does not have is either the tongue-in-cheek funny bone that acknowledged the absurdity of these genre offerings, or the pointed paradox and criticism of something like Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 work of art Starship Troopers. Sci-fi has constantly been utilized to inform us unpleasant realities about society and humankind: What do we worth, and what do we fear? What do we wish to manage, and why? What is our location in deep space, and how do we respond if we discover we aren’t alone?

None of this is to state that authors like Philip K. Penis, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Octavia Butler, or filmmakers like Lana and Lilly Wachowski and Denis Villeneuve, hold some sort of exclusivity over the category due to the fact that their work is more prominent. There is still a great deal of visceral enjoyable to be had in films that attempt to dream huge and control sci-fi conventions towards initial concepts, or that manage a foreseeable story with self-confidence and vigor. Neither of these is what Cosmic Sin does. Whatever in it recognizes, however none of it is amazing, and even at just 88 minutes, it drags.

The facility is sort of a collection of sci-fi and scary: Intertitles notify us that by the year 2524, Earth has actually invested almost 500 years attempting to colonize other worlds. The colonization of Mars stopped working. The Alliance, which guides Earth’s interplanetary efforts, still guidelines over 2 other nests on earths Zafdie and Ellora. In 2519, when the world Zafdie attempted to withdraw, “Blood General” James Ford (Willis) dropped a Q-bomb on the “rebel colony.” (Oh, right: The film utilizes the terms “quantum propulsion technology” and “tachyon interference” whenever it wishes to MacGuffin away something without truly discussing it, so a “Q-bomb” that utilizes quantum innovation is basically a greatly even worse nuke.) Ford had the blood of 70 million individuals on his hands and got an unethical discharge. In the years because, he’s been avoided by some, however declared by others as the only male going to do what required to be done. So you understand, your common Willis gig.

But when two miners are attacked by a mysterious alien force, the Alliance jumps into action, and General Eron Ryle (Grillo) insists on Ford’s expertise. So while Ford and his lackey Dash (the film’s co-writer, Corey Large) are being retrieved from a bar fight (the only human inventions in 500 years are robot bartenders; otherwise, humans in 2524 still drive gas-guzzling pickup trucks and use guns that shoot bullets), Dr. Lea Goss (Perrey Reeves) is waiting to inspect the miners brought back to Earth after the alien event.

And that’s when it all goes to hell: The aliens are parasites who can possess and reanimate human corpses, and whose oily black blood allows them to spread from body to body. After they nearly overrun the Alliance base, Ryle and Ford come up with a plan: The only thing to do is travel to the planet where the aliens currently are, and drop a Q-bomb on them. Easy peasy!

It says a lot about Cosmic Sin’s throwback conceit that the characters largely approve of this idea, and that the only doubters are women. Dr. Goss is the common “more interested in the aliens than in humanity” character (“You want to fuck it or kill it?” someone asks), while quantum tech Fiona Ardene (Adelaide Kane) is upset that the technology she works on could be used to kill others. The movie barely hides its loathing for their moral uncertainty, while Gen. Ryle’s nephew Braxton (Brandon Thomas Lee) and longtime comrade Marcus Bleck (Costas Mandylor), both eager to kill as many aliens as possible, are positioned as additional heroes. And when the humans track the alien signal to Ellora, Braxton and Ford take center stage, leading the charge against the invading force alongside the Cara Dune-styled character Sol Cantos (C.J. Perry, a.k.a. the wrestler Lana).

Is this where Cosmic Sin is supposed to be exciting? Maybe. The humans, bedecked in brightly colored Icarus Suits and helmets, jump through space-time from Earth to the Ellora colony, but what’s meant as a bravura sequence is confusingly edited and visually flat. Neither the scale of the spaceships nor the humans whizzing by the vessels as they shoot each other looks quite right. The aliens are a kludge of Sauron and Cthulhu-style details, including tentacled faces, elongated claw-fingers, and oversized medieval weaponry. The blurry, jumpy cinematography isn’t scary, just disorienting.

Frank Grillo, glowering in intense blue light in Cosmic Sin

Photo: Saban Films

The saving grace of a throwback spectacle movie is usually its ability to acknowledge its genre’s familiar faults, but so much of Cosmic Sin is handled without any real sense of fun. Braxton and Fiona butt heads in the familiar way that involves a man treating a woman like an idiot, and her responding by falling for him. Willis sometimes seems like he’s on an entirely different set than everyone else, and he delivers every line with the same deadpan growl. Grillo is strangely sidelined, a bizarre narrative choice given that he’s leading the mission. And although the movie’s climactic moment has throwback appeal in its interstellar design — all glowing purple stars, angular spaceships, and an expanding halo of explosive blue light — the beauty of that moment is marred by a return to an overly prolonged shoot-out scene where every third line of dialogue is “Fuck.”

That inability to decide what kind of movie it wants to be is Cosmic Sin’s greatest shortcoming. Is it just rah-rah military propaganda, like when someone praises Ford with “He’s a warmonger, but he’s our fucking warmonger”? Is it a comedy poking fun at our love affair with the stars, like when Braxton says of dying in a black hole, “Being sucked off by the universe doesn’t sound like the worst way to go”? In one of the movie’s last scenes, a hologram nation band wails on a harmonica while Braxton batters an alien warrior. It needs to be gloriously unreasonable, an excessive, revelatory event of cinematic cheese. It isn’t. Which is an indication that Cosmic Sin makes the most outright cinematic disobedience of all: It’s uninteresting.

Cosmic Sin is now offered on digital leasing on Amazon, Vudu, and other platforms.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.