Cosmic Sin, 2021.
Directed by Edward Drake.
Starring Frank Grillo, Bruce Willis, Brandon Thomas Lee, C.J. Perry, Corey Large, Lochlyn Munro, Costas Mandylor and Adelaide Kane.
The year is 2524 and Earth has had colonies on Mars for centuries. After a catastrophic first contact with alien life, General Eron Ryle (Frank Grillo) calls on disgraced General James Ford for help. Invasion is imminent and there is only one man who can save civilisation as we know it.
Cosmic Sin is not winning any medals for originality. This sparse space adventure co-written and directed by Edward Drake is concise in characterisation, vague in motivation and high on entertainment. It is also unconcerned with nuance, back story or more than two dimensional emotional responses. VFX carry much of the load, while Frank Grillo fully commits and Bruce Willis phones it in.
This also bears more than a passing resemblance to Aliens, while Star Trek gets a hat tip as well. Bar fight introductions, that trademark smirk and a low register mumble allow Bruce Willis to sleepwalk through this role. Meanwhile Frank Grillo only clocks up about thirty minutes of screen time, while screenwriter Corey Large makes more of an impression as a supporting player.
Scenes are often timestamped to instil urgency, while bizarre moments of mind melding featuring Bruce Willis confuse things unnecessarily. Unfortunately, both actors spend very little time together in the same room, while Bruce Willis appears bored and indifferent. Thankfully this trait has failed to rub off on his co-star, who remains extremely present throughout and saves the movie.
Despite the random disappearance of Eron Ryle for thirty minutes halfway through, there are enough character beats to know who is carrying Cosmic Sin. Underrated and prolific in his output and performances, Frank Grillo sells this film from the beginning. His co-star might have the expression of someone who is considering how to spend his fee rather than earning it, but watching General Eron Ryle audiences will have no such illusions.
This film belongs to him from the outset and Frank Grillo is sorely missed when a low wattage Bruce Willis fills the screen. Based on this evidence and work ethic alone the latter-day Hollywood superstar should hang up his hat. If audiences were hoping to find John McClane in space, there will likely be a lot of disappointed people once the ninety minutes are over. That being said, there is more than enough here above the disinterest of a marquee pay cheque player to keep audiences watching.
Cosmic Sin may be knowingly derivative but it gets by on buckets of charisma and commitment from everyone else. C.J. Perry’s Sol Cantos is a plucky grunt brimming with sass, while Adelaide Kane’s Fiona Ardene does her best as a resourceful tech engineer. Beyond that, this by the numbers alien invasion flick delivers some high-tech carnage, passable one-liners and a little world ending crisis without outstaying its welcome.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★