Bruce Willis used to be in big demand, but then his ego took over and he began to make so many bad movies that seeing his name was a sure sign of a flop.
It might be hard for some people to remember this because it was about 30 years ago. After Die Hard was a surprise hit in 1988, the sequel was bigger, louder and dumber. But it was a hit. And Bruce’s head got so huge, his ego took over and then there was The Bonfire of the Vanities, Billy Bathgate, and Hudson Hawk, a movie so bad it’s enjoyable in his awfulness.
Then there was The Last Boy Scout. It was good, but Willis managed to sleepwalk through a role that he thought smoking cigarettes made him look tough. Willis’ portrayal of the stereotypical private investigator was almost like he had rolled out of bed in the morning and grabbed whatever clothes out of the hamper that didn’t smell too bad.
He made even worse movies such as Striking Distance, in which my dad theorized must’ve had the same writer as his other movies given Willis use of the F-bomb so much you think he has a reverse swear jar in which he gets more money for cursing.
North followed and it is equally one of the worst movies ever made that it inspired Roger Ebert to give his iconic review, “I hated this movie. Hated, hated hated hated hated this movie.” Brother Roger had once earned a Pulitzer for criticism so to critique a movie like a fellow Chicagoan upset over a bad call made at a Bears game must’ve really got to him.
Bruce made the Basic Instinct wannabe Color of Night, which despite a very steamy sex scene and a brief glimpse of Willis’ willy, is horrifyingly bad. But at least it was kinda enjoyable with its Crying Game twist that was pretty obvious from the first scene the character appears on screen and it adhered to Ebert’s Law of the Extraneous Character.
Then, something happened. Willis decided to make smaller roles in critical darlings like Pulp Fiction and Nobody’s Fool. This lead a third Die Hard movie, in which John McClane makes the P.I. in Last Boy Scout look and talk like Tom Wolfe.
But there was the ballsy 12 Monkeys with Brad Pitt and directed by Terry Gilliam. And Willis showed range as an actor, and I’m not using that word out of context.
He was smart enough to stay away from The Island of Dr. Moureau and its troubled production. Then he convinced Luc Besson to cast him in the remarkable The Fifth Element. So maybe Willis had learned his lesson.
But then there was Broadway Brawler, an abandoned rom-com for Disney that resulted in him having to make three movies out of contractual obligation or else he would’ve been sued six ways from Sunday. He was beginning divorce proceedings with Demi Moore, so he had to man up and take his punishment.
And what a punishment it was. First, he made Armageddon, a movie so bad it ended up on critics worst lists. But it made a shitload of money so critics can suck a dick.
Then in 1999, there was a little supernatural thriller that no one was initially talking about called The Sixth Sense that has by far one of the best fucking plot twists ever. So, good that it practically ruined the career of its director M. Night Shyamalan.
But it made a shitload of money too and the critics fucking loved it. They loved it so fucking much that when it came time for awards season, it was nominated for fucking Oscars. A fucking Bruce Willis movie was nominated for a fucking Best Picture Oscar with some people even defending Bruce for getting snubbed for a Best Actor nomination.
Seriously, what the almighty fuck is going on? Yes, Pulp Fiction had been an Oscar nominee but was more of a QT and John Travolta flick. And Nobody’s Fool was about Paul Newman and Jessica Tandy.
Bruce began the 2000s reteaming with Shyamalan and former co-star Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable, another fine role and then there was The Kid, which got mixed reviews but still made money.
Bruce was back in top form. His pet project Breakfast of Champions had failed miserably, but it was easy to overlook it.
Then, he began making crappy movies to the point he turned John McClane into a superhero in Live Free And Die Hard jumping off a fighter jet from hundreds of feet up so he could slide down a destroyed bridge like it was at a water park. They even censored “Yippie-Kay-Yay Motherfucker!” by making it PG-13.
Suddenly, Bruce started appearing in low-budget movies that were going straight to DVD/video and a new format taking off in the 2010s Video on Demand.
Kevin Smith directed him in Cop Out and called the worst experience of his career. It seemed Bruce was no longer making big movies and producers were giving him seven-figure paychecks to make it appear he was in major roles in movies he had barely appeared in.
An attempt to revive his career a few years ago failed as he made a brief cameo in the successful Split, again made by Shyamalan, only to make Glass, which was very disappointing. He also appeared in a remake of Death Wish that seemed to come out at the height of the MeToo movement showcasing the toxic masculinity wrong in America.
Worse, Willis had even been shunned by his Planet Hollywood buddy, Sly Stallone, who refused to cast him in The Expendables 3, which is a major insult considering the movie is pretty cheesy to begin with. He had been replaced by Harrison Ford, who had better days but it was still like going from a Hungry Man salisbury steak to a juicy ribeye.
Wes Anderson may have cast him in some movies. I’m not sure. I gave up on Anderson about 15 years ago. I watched about 10 minutes of Moonrise Kingdom, which he is credited as appearing in, then was distracted by my beagle licking himself and realized I’d rather watch that.
All this brings me to Cosmic Sin, a movie so awful, so bad, so inept, so pedestrian, it makes The Room look like a Tennessee Williams play. I’d much rather sit through Gigli for 100 hours A Clockwork Orange style than sit through the 88 minutes of this movie.
Shit, I’d rather sit through 88 Minutes instead of this movie.
When the best thing you can say about a movie is at least it isn’t a full hour and a half long, that’s bad. You need those extra two minutes to do something more meaningful with your life. Anything you can accomplish in two minutes would clearly make up for the 88 minutes you spend watching this low-budget dreck of a movie that even the Mystery Science Theater 3000 people would run from the theater screaming.
In all fairness, the end credits start about 85minutes into the movie so that’s better. You haver three more minutes of your life to do something else.
If you haven’t noticed that the end credits are so short, it’s because the visual effects harken back to the 1980s when Willis began his career. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
The plot involves the invention of quantum technology to propel people through space in the 2040s and then yadda-yadda-yadda, there’s the colonization of Mars in the 23rd Century and then, blah, blah, blah, there’s a lot of intergalactic warfare as it’s 2524 and there’s just one man who can do the job.
You guessed it? That one man is James Ford (Willis) who is a disgraced ex-military officer as they always are who is found in a bar, because they’re always functioning alcoholics, by Gen. Eron Ryle (Frank Grillo) and there’s a bar fight because there’s always a bar fight where Willis looks like he’s sitting in an insurance seminar while the guy is enthusiastically talking about short-term versus long-term disability.
Ford will only do the job that he can do under one conditions, full reinstatement of pay and benefits. Damn right. At 66, you’d think they could find a lot better people. And come to think of it watching this, I’m not sure Ford does a lot.
Willis just doesn’t look bored in this. He looks like he just doesn’t care anymore. He looks like the old-timers who still go to McDonalds or Burger King mid-morning to get a cup of coffee because at least they’re getting out for the day.
And getting out is what this movie doesn’t do. So much of it is set in rooms and they look like leftover sets from sci-fi TV shows from the 1990s. And there’s a lot of shaky cam too. I have problems with light tremors in my hands but even I can hold a cell phone to make a video better than this.
The soldiers put on metallic apparatuses on their bodies that maybe would’ve looked hi-tech in all those sci-fi movies that copied off of Star Wars 40 years ago. I couldn’t help put do a Captain Picard face palm as they go to this other world, which is supposed to be a mining company, because it always involves mining.
Anyway, they spend a considerable amount of time in a wooded area that looks like northern Georgia. I lived in northern Georgia for almost 20 years and can spot the terrain in seconds. Apparently, there is an alien presence threatening them that turns humans into zombie-life creatures or something like that.
It’s just beyond terrible. I’ve seen it before in many other low-budget movies but there it was expected. Here, it’s just a letdown. Whatever money was spent obviously didn’t go into special effects, hence the fact the credits are so short.
An MCU movie has end credits that are 10 minutes long because a lot of people worked on them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actors were told to help carry things around on the set because they couldn’t afford the crew. I would say the actors look like they’re reading their lines off cue cards, but I don’t think they could even afford cue cards.
There’s a lot of scenes of people talking to people off-screen probably because Willis only agreed to work so much. It happens. And under a good director, you can sense they are in the same scene. Not here. They don’t even look like they’re in the same movie.
Director Edward Drake previously directed music videos and a previous Willis movie Breach, which is also a sci-fi action movie, also filmed in Georgia, and reportedly bad. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know if I will. I’ve already seen this.
Willis could live another 100 years and spend every minute of those years doing charitable work and atoning for this movie and it still wouldn’t be enough.
Willis has many more movies reportedly in post-production or set to begin filming. I noticed on Instagram a young actress said she was co-starring with Willis in a movie filmed near where I used to live in southwest Georgia. She appears so happy. And I’m hoping for the best for her.
But sadly, Willis’ caliber of movies are so bottom of the barrel right now I’m almost certain he’d appear in a bukkake video if the price is right.
I understand that Willis has two young kids with his wife Emma Heming and they say the average child will cost a parent about $1 million to raise from pregnancy to 18. I guess Willis is doing whatever he can to keep the roof over their heads but damn!
Surely, there’s some royalty checks from those blockbusters he used to make. Most men his age would be wanting to retire.
At least he could choose better movies. But maybe he can’t. Sadly, I feel that Willis has become such a tainted name he has to take whatever job he’s offered. But, damn it, man, learn to say “No” once in a while.