WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
COSMIC SIN (2021)
Bruce Willis and Frank Grillo “team up” in this exciting sci-fi adventure that includes a ridiculous amount of worldbuilding, alien zombies, and time travel!
Cosmic Sin commits to its title by having no sign of life in its entire runtime, nor does it ever make any sense. Done on a low budget, the most impressive aspects are the visuals with great shot composition and colorful, contrasting lighting, but after a while each location looks the same as the one previous, just with the tube lighting in different spots. There are a couple full CGI segments, which are once again, visually impressive, but also once again, get reused with less attention to detail. To make matters worse, the story is so thin, existing only to string together large sci-fi set pieces on a low budget.
Bruce Willis falls from the sky, with random facts about the history of the world they're set in. Two people are about to get "intimate" only to have an alien(?) kill(?) them, then the alien(??) causes people to become ill and transform into zombie-like beings that can shoot weapons. Soon after, Bruce Willis and Frank Grillo's characters have a meeting, leading to a quantum jump into space, but I'm unclear if they're time traveling. The characters continuously say “quantum” like it means something. BAM, BOP, ZIP, POW, things happen, explosions happen, then aliens(???) show up again!
I wish I understood what was happening in this movie, but I’m afraid to ask for help without getting bombarded with so much useless worldbuilding. The story puts in so much effort to make its story possible, taking a complicated, convoluted route instead of the simplest path. Combine this utter nonsensical plotting with the lack of character or any emotion whatsoever, and you get to a point where you’re only focusing on the pretty colors and tuning out the dialogue altogether.
I will say though, that it seems the film is pro-war. Though the “plot” of the film is about a group of soldiers trying to prevent a war and then eventually thinking they accidentally did start a war, it turns out the aliens they’re facing were always planning on killing them. I would like to say that I could support this theory with evidence like a moral argument of whether or not genocide should happen, a clashing of pacifist and violent ideologies, or anything that would make any thematic sense, but alas, nothing in this film makes any sense.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Bruce Willis is here either for the paycheck or to return a favor, and Frank Grillo tries to take his job seriously in a film he seems to know is failing. Both of their dialogue is extremely flat; Willis’s because of his lack of a performance, and Grillo’s because he has literally no material to work off of other than being a military guy. The real stand out is Adelaide Kane, who also has nothing but tries her damndest to be an interesting character with her reactions and subtle movements.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
As I said earlier, the visuals are the strongest element of the film. However, that’s a very low bar. A lot of the CGI seems to be premade asset, and any visual effects incorporated into the live action footage look similar to VFX-centric YouTube videos. You know, the ones where the visual effect is laid over the footage but doesn’t organically mesh with the rest of the environment. Outside of that, the makeup works due to not being demanding.
What bothers me design-wise, was how clear it was that Bruce Willis’s footage was shot at a different time than Frank Grillo’s and most of the cast’s. Though his eyeline works, the lighting for his shots are different, sometimes drastically brighter than everyone else, who in terms of the film, are in the same room. He and Frank Grillo never appear in the same shot, with a stand-in who is clearly not Bruce Willis trying to sell the idea of them interacting with each other.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Nothing to note for the score as it mostly just seemed like stock music placed at proper moments. The sound design itself fluctuates in quality; sometimes almost sounding distorted in the scenes set in a wide open room that would echo. Notably, it’s Willis’s audio that fluctuates in quality, which I suppose meant they couldn’t afford to have him dub his lines in post-production like everyone else.
Cosmic Sin never does anything right, but it did make me chuckle at the scenes that were supposed to be emotional. It’s a story with constant payoffs to things that are never set up, low-budget setpieces that want to look prestigious, and an insane infatuation with tube lights (seriously, there are so many). It’s not worth going to the theater for, not worth watching for the two big names, but kind of worth popping in for a drinking game; take a shot every time someone mentions first contact.
In Theaters, On Demand and On Digital March 12, 2021