Thursday, March 11, 2021

Cosmic Sin, Starring Bruce Willis & Frank Grillo

The "Dark Forest Theory” suggests any intelligent civilization in the universe should try to remain undetected from any potential rivals, who would most likely consider them an existential threat to their own survival and act accordingly. The military of the Earth-based Alliance generally subscribes to this theory. Unfortunately, the strange hive-like aliens clearly do as well. They appear to have a higher level of technology, but we have Bruce Willis and Frank Grillo, so its more or less equal in Edward Drake’s Cosmic Sin, which releases this Friday on VOD.

When a rebellion threatened to fracture the Alliance, Gen. James Ford put it down permanently by dropping a quantum Q-bomb. Ever since then, he was dishonorably discharged and derided as the “Blood General.” However, hawkish colonists on the edge of the frontier still regard him as a folk hero. Logically, when the outer colonies were attacked by an alien race, Gen. Ryle, the latest grizzled, hardnosed military commander recruits his predecessor to do whatever needs to be done.

The plan, such as it is, involves an elite squad (including Ford and Ryle, so take that Picard, you armchair captain), strapping into quantum mecha suits and basting off to the war zone with another Q-bomb. To make the line-up even more unlikely, it will also include Ryle’s hard-charging soldier son Braxton and Ford’s judgmental scientist ex-wife, who radiates contempt for the military she serves. Fortunately, Sol Cantos, the leader of the remnant of human resistance they link up with is more on-board with the whole saving humanity program.

Drake also wrote the recent Willis vehicle
Breach, so maybe someday in the future film scholars will write scholarly books about the great Breach-Cosmic Sin duology. If so, it will probably have to be the French. At least, Sin more unambiguously sides with humanity against the alien menace. Indeed, the Dark-Forest-Hunting aliens explicitly undermine touchy-feely liberal idealism with their own war-mongering words.

Of course, by now, Willis knows how to get the most out of his weathered, world-weary action figure shtick with the least effort. He hardly breaks a sweat saving the world this time around, yet he is still charismatically watchable as crusty old Ford. The same is basically true of Grillo, but he has considerably less screen time as Gen. Ryle. Brandon Thomas Lee just can’t pass for a chip off the Ryle/Frank Grillo block, but the roguish attitude of Corey Large’s Dash, an old crony of Ford helps break things up. Plus, former wrestler C.J. Perry (a.k.a. Lana) brings solid energy and action chops as Cantos.

Drake & Large’s screenplay does not always make sense and the look of the film is often weirdly murky. However, they stage enough battles and explosions to keep viewers from falling asleep. Willis and Perry have their moments but there is nothing really amazing here. It kills the time, but you can certainly wait for free subscription streaming. In the meantime,
Cosmic Sin releases tomorrow (3/12) on VOD.