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‘Cosmic Sin’: Bruce Willis barely wakes up for absurd intergalactic thriller

The 2524 space odyssey looks cheap and saddles its star with clunky dialogue.

A warmongering general (Bruce Willis) is pulled from retirement to thwart an alien invasion in “Cosmic Sin.”
Saban Films

A few things I’d rather do than watch “Cosmic Sin” again:

Stub my toe.

Get a splinter.

Accidentally swallow a small insect.

Also this. I’d rather watch footage of Bruce Willis reading the script for “Cosmic Sin,” talking himself into starring in “Cosmic Sin,” signing the deal for “Cosmic Sin,” telling us his reasons for signing the deal for “Cosmic Sin,” and explaining why he looks so bored onscreen it seems like a struggle to keep his eyes open. Through thick and thin, through “Moonlighting” and a hundred “Die Hard” movies, through the height of stardom and the slumming-it stages, I’ve always been a Bruce Willis guy — but he’s testing us this time around. This isn’t even phoning it in; it’s more like texting it in.

Not that Willis should take all of the blame for this cheap-looking, patently absurd, intellectually lazy and laughably pretentious intergalactic sci-fi nonsense from director and co-writer Edward Drake, who co-wrote the equally forgettable Willis-starring space thriller “Breach” from 2020. (Some end-of-days, sci-fi filmmaking matches are made somewhere outside of heaven.) While Drake clearly has some big ideas and shows flashes of talent here and there, “Cosmic Sin” has a murky look, poorly drawn characters and some of the clunkiest dialogue of the year. The end result comes across as a lesser episode of “The Twilight Zone” or “Star Trek” with more explosions.

“Cosmic Sin” is set in the year 2524, a time when humans have founded colonies on distant planets. (We get 500 years’ worth of exposition in a series of opening title cards.) As we join the story, Willis’ legendary Gen. Ford, aka “The Blood General,” has been retired for his warmongering ways, as he once wiped out tens of millions of humans, including innocent civilians, by dropping a “Q-bomb” to quash a rebellion. Ah, but when the plot hits the fan, Gen. Ford is called back to duty to lead the obligatory band of colorful characters on a covert mission to invade an alien planet and eliminate the enemy before it can proceed with its planned takeover of Earth. That’s right, it’s once again up to Bruce Willis to save the planet, this time clad in a suit of armor that looks as if it was pieced together in a junkyard.

The ubiquitous Frank Grillo shares equal poster billing with Willis, but is underused as Gen. Ryle, who has a grudging respect for the old warhorse Blood General as they team up on this seemingly suicidal mission. Perrey Reeves (“Entourage”) has a thankless role as Dr. Lea Goss, a renowned scientist who is Ford’s ex and left him because he was too consumed with being the Blood General to spend quality time at home. The wrestler Lana, aka C.J. Perry, plays a yellow-braided warrior named Sol who teams up with Ford and company, as they wage war on a planet that looks an awful lot like the woods of Georgia, because like seemingly every other movie these days, “Cosmic Sin” was filmed in Georgia.

Here’s hoping Bruce Willis had a peach of a time. We certainly don’t see evidence of that onscreen.