Credit: Saban Films
by Matt Lynch Featured Film Genre Views

Cosmic Sin | Edward Drake

March 8, 2021

Cosmic Sin is an affront to shoestring filmmaking, delivering a final product entirely bereft of imagination and lazy in execution.

Does Bruce Willis even watch the movies he appears in these days? Rumors about his paydays — including a ridiculous million-per-day price floated in recent years — hardly reflect the endless stream of substandard DTV action detritus he’s been delivering of late, most of which calls for him to headline the poster and appear for roughly 20 minutes of total screen time. Even if the exorbitant numbers aren’t true, the relative quality of both the films and his performances have seriously dropped off in the last decade, give or take. So enjoy Cosmic Sin while you pour one out for Bruno, the film being an absolutely witless and derivative sci-fi escapade. Set 500 years in the future — and after a series of absurd expository title cards like “2516: Zafdie attempts to secede from the Alliance. The ‘Blood General’ James Ford drops a Q-Bomb on the Rebel colony” — the film introduces us right away to the aforementioned General Ford (Willis), who crash lands on an alien planet that looks suspiciously like the woods in any given backyard. Flashback, for some reason, to a few days earlier, when a previously unknown alien force launches an attack. The invaders possess human bodies by spraying them with goo. Clearly, this aggression cannot stand, man, so the government recruits disgraced war criminal Ford to do his thing, and that thing is is to go to the Alien planet and commit mass genocide.

There’s a lot of handwringing by the cast (which also includes Lochlyn Munro, Frank Grillo, co-writer Cory Large, and Perrey Reeves as part of a platoon of space marines) about whether or not it’s okay to just zip through hyperspace and annihilate an entire alien civilization, but mostly that’s forgotten by the time the monsters kill a few of our heroes and it’s firmly established that they’re just bad baddies and we’ve gotta call the exterminator. Of the rest of the cast, only Grillo (who’s become quite the DTV staple himself, albeit in typically much better work — see Beyond Skyline or Jiu-Jitsu) seems to be really committed to the shtick, barking orders and waxing macho about duty, etc. Willis himself is entirely asleep at the switch, filmed mostly in close-up, and it’s hard to tell which of the other performers he might actually be physically sharing a space with at any given time.

Cosmic Sin’s other, uh…infraction?…is its utter cheapness. Certainly nobody’s asking for studio blockbuster VFX or production design, but it looks like most of its budget may have gone toward Willis’ salary. The film, which is set half a millennium into our future, features a Planet Earth that looks almost exactly as our present does, with circa 2010s automobiles and architecture. Sure, a spaceship will fly overhead occasionally, and there is indeed a robot bartender in a couple scenes. But then there’s the space marines’ equipment, which is basically kit-bashed PVC pipe and plaster molding, with crummy helmets that sit awkwardly on the wearers’ heads even as the sound effects indicate them snapping tightly into place. The production could barely even afford blanks for the machine guns — the muzzle flashes are CGI. Writer/director Edward Drake shoots it all in the gloom anyway. That’s not to be callous — there’s nothing wrong with making the best of a shoestring budget, and even less wrong with taking the opportunity to snag a movie star that might get your hard work delivered to a wider audience. But Cosmic Sin is both bereft of imagination and visual spark, the whole thing ultimately impossible to take seriously.