Cosmic Sin

I wonder if Bruce Willis would pay money to see or rent his own recent movies. If not, why should he expect anyone else to? The actor, an indisputable talent, appears to be bored onscreen lately, as if he can barely be bothered to put in the effort. He falls back on the same old “Bruce Willis thing” time and again. Of course, if he's only getting offered scripts like the one for Cosmic Sin, his apathy is completely understandable. This is a derivative and dull sci-fi/action picture that only runs eighty-seven minutes yet feels like it runs eighty-seven days.

The story is set in the year 2524. Humans long ago colonized other planets. When soldiers on one of those planets are attacked by some kind of hostile aliens, there is Only One Man who can lead the charge against him. That, obviously, is Willis' character, James Ford, a former military general who left in disgrace after deploying a mega-destructive weapon called a “Q-bomb” during combat. (The Q-bomb a MacGuffin, but conspiracy theorists will probably have a field day with it.) Ford joins forces with General Eron Ryle (Frank Grillo) to lead a team of elite soldiers in preventing the aliens from continuing with their attack.

Cosmic Sin is one of those movies where great care went into the visual effects, above all else. For the most part, the space battles and intergalactic flight scenes are impressive to look at. The film also has the requisite shootouts and martial arts fights that are a requirement in this sort of low-budget action flick.

What you don't get is a coherent plot or any sort of character development. Director/co-writer Edward Drake seems to think he's making an epic science-fiction adventure, but Cosmic Sin's brief running time ensures that there's zero depth. The movie introduces the premise, then proceeds to rush right through it, never attempting to generate any suspense or emotional investment. Ford, Ryle, and the others are all cardboard cutouts, each with one personality trait that's simply repeated over and over. None of them is worth caring about, and when you don't care whether anyone lives or dies, what's the point?

Half-baked subplots abound. One involves Ford's romantic feelings for a scientist (Perrey Reeves). Does that go anywhere? Nope. Nor does one about Ryle's concern when his son Braxton (Brandon Thomas Lee) wants to take an active role in the mission. Those are just two examples. The title Cosmic Sin, meanwhile, refers to genocide. Surely, with a theme that serious, the movie will have something worthwhile to say, right? Think again. Genocide is mentioned solely to make it seem as though the story has more weight than it does.

It's early in the year, but this is a serious contender for the top spot in my eventual ten-worst list. Cosmic Sin achieves little aside from giving viewers a headache from the frequent gunfights, and boring them from the lack of anything even remotely entertaining.

out of four

Cosmic Sin is rated R for language including some sexual references, and violence. The running time is 1 hour and 27 minutes.