‘Cosmic Sin’ movie review: Bruce Willis nukes an alien planet in sci-fi action flick

A ragtag team of Earth soldiers plots to preemptively blow up an alien planet after first contact is made in Cosmic Sin, a new sci-fi action movie starring Bruce Willis and Frank Grillo now available on streaming services.

An opening text scrawl gets Cosmic Sin up to speed: It’s the year 2524, and humanity has now mastered light-years traversing space travel and colonized a couple outer space planets. An alliance has been formed, between who or what we don’t know.

Down on Earth, however, not much has changed in the past 500 years: they’re still driving pickup trucks and motorcycles and listening to early 2000s techno, and Bruce Willis is still packing away shots at the country-western saloon in-between barroom brawls. They do have a nifty robot bartender, though.

Out on an uninhabited deep space mining planet, a couple of lovebirds get more than they bargained for when they’re ambushed by… something. It’s humanity’s first contact with an alien species, depicted here with all the awe and wonder of a teen slasher movie.

Juda (Eva De Dominici) calls in a report and is asked the all-important question: “was the encounter positive or negative for both sides?”

It’s an important question: should the encounter be negative for the humans, and it sure did look that way, well, the human race might just want to send a quantum bomb to the alien homeworld and perform a little preemptive genocide just to be sure. Better safe than sorry.

You might think that high officials from Earth, and the other two worlds mentioned in the opening scrawl but quickly forgotten, would want to convene to discuss whether they should nuke the newfound alien species. But no: it’s just Frank Grillo’s space general Ryle, in an abandoned warehouse meant to be some kind of spaceport.

Luckily, he has two experts to weigh in on the issue. A grumbly Bruce Willis as James Ford, a shoot-first space veteran who was thrown out of the space force for his aggressive tactics, and called back in by Ryle from his retirement at the saloon. And the esteemed Dr. Lea Goss (Perrey Reeves), who once wrote a college thesis on the benefits of preemptively exploding alien worlds.

“But General, I was just 25-year-old student…” she interjects.

“Thank you, doctor,” Grillo’s gruff general rebuffs her, his mind now made up. “You’re dismissed.”

It’s nukin’ time. And so a seven-person team is quantum-dispatched to another planet to gather coordinates and fire the bomb. In addition to the characters played by Willis, Grillo, and Reeves, there’s the general’s gung-ho son (Brandon Thomas Lee), Ford’s sidekick Dash (Corey Large), space marine Marcus (Costas Mandylor), and Fiona (Adelaide Kane), who carries the quantum bomb in her hands as she crash-lands on an alien planet, and caresses it so it doesn’t explode.

There’s a level of fun that can be had with cheap sci-fi flicks like this, and Cosmic Sin has a higher budget than most: it’s professionally shot by Brandon Cox in that familiar J.J. Abrams lens-flare style, there’s some decent costuming, and the outer space CGI effects work is legitimately impressive for this kind of thing.

Unfortunately, Cosmic Sin is also an action movie that didn’t bother to properly stage or shoot its action scenes, and instead tries to convey the illusion of action through editing and CGI alone. The result is a good half hour of mind-numbing gun battles where we can’t tell who is shooting at what, let alone why.

And while the Bruce Willis character does, very briefly, acknowledge that maybe they shouldn’t be nuking an entire planet without gathering just a little more intel, Cosmic Sin is all down with the icky premise and expects us to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is a thoughtless and often confounding flick; and if you’re the kind of viewer that likes a little intelligence in your science-fiction movie, you can steer clear of this one.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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