Director – Edward Drake, Screenplay – Edward Drake & Corey Large, Producer – Corey Large, Photography – Brandon Cox, Music – Scott Glasgow, Visual Effects Supervisor – Zeke Faust, Special Effects Supervisor – Bob Shelley, Makeup Effects – Toby Sells, Production Design – David Dean Ebert. Production Company – Saban Films/308 Enterprises/Bondit Media Capital/The Exchange.
Bruce Willis (James Ford), Frank Grillo (General Ryle), Brandon Thomas Lee (Braxton Ryle), Perry Reeves (Dr Lea Goss), Corey Large (Dash), Eve De Dominici (Juda Saule), C.J. Perry (Sol Cantos), Lochlyn Munro (Alex Locke), Costas Mandylor (Marcus Bleck), Adelaide Kane (Fiona Ardene), Trevor Gretzky (Felix Zand)
The year 2524. Humanity has spread out through the universe thanks to the development of Quantum Propulsion Technology. Earth military now receives a message from two people stationed to scout a planet for mining potential who are under attack by aliens. General Ryle is placed in charge and demands the reinstatement of James Ford. a former general who was discharged after dropping a Q-Bomb on an inhabited colony killing 70 million. A group of people returning to Earth prove to be controlled by the aliens and can only be stopped in a massive shootout. Ryle and his team debate about what to do and the decision is made to track down the aliens’ planet and strike first by dropping a Q-Bomb on them. To this extent, Ryle and Ford gather a rogue team of soldiers, appropriate a Q-Bomb and jump through the quantum gate with the intent of taking the fight to the aliens.
Cosmic Sin may well have been intended for a theatrical release but ended up going direct to streaming. You get the impression that not many people cared about the film – the IMDB’s listing for the film’s official website leads to a Russian site streaming pirated content, for instance.
The film is written and produced by Corey Large who also plays one of the soldiers on the expedition. Large, a Canadian native, started out as an actor and had some bit parts, before moving into producing and writing in the mid-2000s. He has a number of credits as a producer, mostly with action films and including a number of genre works such as Tooth and Nail (2007), Toxic (2008), Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009), Cross (2011), Zombeavers (2004), It Follows (2014), Amnesiac (2014), Vice (2015), Inconceivable (2017) and The Ninth Passenger (2018), along with several subsequent Bruce Willis films, all made on medium budgets. Director Edward Drake premiered with the war film Animals (2012) and then made the vampire film Broil (2020), the subsequent human hunting film Apex (2021) and several other films for Large.
It is evident from the way that Corey Large produces films that he makes them with medium budgets that sit somewhere between B+ and A-. Cosmic Sin reads as though it has been conceived on an A-budget and wants to be a big, epical space war epic but is being forced to operate on considerably less than that. It has A-list faces like Bruce Willis and the rising name of Frank Grillo. However, the action feels severely reduced in scope. The alien planets are simply forests and a studio desert set (shot in Georgia under tax incentive money). The aliens are just regular humans that we are told are body snatchers where the only real difference is that they leave marks on the host’s face like Goths whose makeup has run in the rain. The film even manages to avoid any of the usual spaceship and space journey effects with a sleight of hand called Quantum Propulsion Technology that teleports the soldiers into orbit around the planet in spacesuits, followed by a handful of effects shots of them undergoing re-entry.
Cosmic Sin feels as though Corey Large and Edward Drake set out with a mutual admiration of Armageddon (1998) and sought to emulate something of the same. There is a similar plot about a team of tough individualists who decide to extend their middle fingers to bureaucratic rules, do everything their way and head off into space to save the Earth. And in both cases, the mission is commanded by Bruce Willis.
Bruce Willis is given the interesting character of a disgraced general who dropped a bomb that wiped out an entire planet of 70 million people. This is not something the film seems to ever take particular objection to – it is implied that he did what was necessary and his reenlistment suggests that he may be needed to do the same again. The film does have one scene debating the ethics of first strike but in reality the entire film is a justification for a pre-emptive strike against the enemy (the titular ‘cosmic sin’). Given that the soldiers head off on a rogue expedition armed with a purloined bomb that can wipe out an entire planet, the underlying morality by which the film operates is rather alarming.
Cosmic Sin is a badly made film. Watching it, you often feel as though key pages of plot have been tossed out – like if the original attack took place on a desert world, why do the assault team head off to a forest world? We go from an alien attack on a desert world where there are only two people, followed by the military being assembled in response to that. But then we see a group of other people brought back in from … somewhere else (it is never explained who they are). They go through decontamination procedures – which take place in an open room with no separation between the soldiers and the returnees – before everything turns into a shooting match as it becomes evident that the returnees are inhabited by alien body snatchers. You can’t help but feel that if better contamination procedures were in place the whole shootout wouldn’t have been necessary.
Cosmic Sin is a film that is absolutely laughable when considered in terms of believable military tactics. A team of soldiers decide to conduct a rogue expedition to start a war on an enemy – something that would surely be regarded as treasonous and have them court-martialled in any contemporary military service. They have zero problem appropriating a planet-destroying weapon – the Q-Bomb just sits around unguarded and can be picked up and taken with nobody trying to stop them – you would be rightly alarmed if today’s military treated nukes the same way.
One of the most ridiculous things about the film for me was that the soldiers head off into action with zero intel about the enemy, not even knowing what they look like, only the vague mission of somehow finding where the aliens come from and taking the fight back to the aliens’ homeworld (despite bringing no experts that might be able to decipher alien technology and work out galactic coordinates with them). And that the team’s method of starting a war involves about a dozen of them teleporting into space over the alien planet, ending up with them dispersed over different areas – the equivalent might be a dozen SEALs deciding to eliminate the threat of the Taliban or Isis and parachuting into a random area of Iraq/Afghanistan all in different places and with no idea where the target is, what the target even looks like and with apparently no supplies other than the guns they carry oh and a nuclear warhead.
Cosmic Sin was one of a series of films that Bruce Willis appeared in from around 2020 that are generally considered universally terrible. These were mostly low-budget action films, although there are a handful of genre vehicles among these such as Breach (2020), Apex (2021), Corrective Measures (2022) and Assassin (2023). In 2022, it was revealed that Willis was suffering from dementia, in particular from aphasia that left him with difficult with speech and comprehension. During this time, Willis signed up for a series of films where he would make $1-2 million per appearance usually for only a few minutes screen time in a supporting role that would be billed as the lead. In 2023, it was announced that he had deteriorated too badly to continue and was having difficulty even recognising where he was and was retiring.
(Winner in this site’s Top 10 Films of 2021 list).