December 17, 2020 Breach (Movie Review)
Let’s face it: When you think Bruce Willis starring in a Sci-Fi flick, your brain is going to logically travel through space to the 1997 cult classic The Fifth Element. But, fair warning, the new Sci-Fi offering Breach is not a technicolor multipass. Saban Films delivers the hyperspeed Sci-Fi/Thriller offering to select theaters, On Demand and Digital beginning Friday, December 18, 2020.
Cody Kearsley (Daybreak series, Riverdale series) and Willis (Die Hard 1988, The Sixth Sense 1999) star alongside Rachel Nichols (The Amityville Horror 2005, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 2009) and Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea 1999, The Mist 2007) in this action-packed, interstellar battle. Directed by John Suits (Pandemic 2016, 3022 2019), and written by Edward Drake (Animals 2012, Broil 2020) and Corey Large (Chasing Ghosts 2005, The Ninth Passenger 2018), Breach centers around Noah (Kearsley). In 2242, fleeing an apocalyptic plague on Earth, he and his pregnant girlfriend, Hayley (Kassandra Clementi: Becoming Bond documentary 2017, UnREAL series), board the USS Hercules (or simply “Her”), the very last ship headed for New Earth. Dramatic surprise: the ship’s eccentric Admiral (Jane) is Hayley’s father.
For the six month voyage to their new home, the majority of the ship’s 300,000 inhabitants will be placed into cryostasis—including the father and daughter. Noah, however, has a glamorous job to do: he’s a sanitation worker. And his immediate superior? That’s everyone’s favorite alcoholic with swagger, the clamorous Clay (Willis).
After a quantum leap and three months travel time, the Her begins to experience a set of troubling events. A stowaway is uncovered, and not long afterward two of the crew—Blue (Johnny Messner: Tears of the Sun 2003, Running Scared 2006) and Ortega (Angie Pack)—go missing. Worse yet, an autopsy performed by Chambers (Nichols) turns up some truly mystifying results. Without concrete answers, but aware that the clock is ticking, the crew must soon face the fact that they are not alone on the ship and there’s nowhere to run in space.
Breach—which was originally titled Anti-Life (ouch!)—also features the acting talents of Timothy V. Murphy (National Treasure: Book of Secrets 2007, The Lone Ranger 2013), Callan Mulvey (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016, Outlaw King 2018), Johann Urb (Resident Evil: Retribution 2012, Arrow series), Ralf Moeller (Universal Soldier 1992, Gladiator 2000), Writer Corey Large, and many more.
If this all sounds like a Christmas wish come true, well, sorry to take a flame-thrower to your tree but this is one Willis-led vehicle worth skipping. Attempting to create an intergalactic tale that is equal parts 1979’s Alien and 1997’s Event Horizon, with a fragrant dash of another Willis abomination, 1998’s Armageddon, Breach is a heavily ‘90s influenced Sci-Fi piece that tosses one too many alien appendages at its viewers, praying that the carnage, coupled with its impressive cast, is enough to make you ignore the obvious—it’s not particularly good.
Although the use of the word ‘carnage’ does seem admittedly hyperbolic, as the bloodshed inside Breach is nothing that should make a seasoned Horror or Sci-Fi nerd flinch. So to be more direct, it’s the Swiss cheese plot of the film, coupled with its obvious aim for mass (read: brainless) appeal, that dooms the entire production. This is a story that has been done before ad nauseum, and while Breach isn’t a total waste of time, it doesn’t have much that is new or novel to offer its audience—save for some intentionally cringey one liners from Willis.
Instead, throughout Breach’s 92 minute runtime, the film has near constant issues with pacing. For it’s first half, it drags along, barely introducing its characters before adding more. When its second half hits, however, it’s hyperspeed ahead and all of the aforementioned individuals begin to drop like flies. Consequently, there’s a clear lack of character development, though, oddly, a large focus on ridiculous minutiae. For instance, we barely even know Blue until he becomes the undead, but time is spent carefully introducing us to an industrial strength bathroom cleaner. Okay, fine, the bathroom cleaner does play a key role, but—that’s asinine too.
With a plot that initially lacks any sense of urgency or tension, save for the potential of Admiral Daddy finding out about Baby Daddy, Breach then plunges full-speed into a twisting and turning minefield of been-there, done-that. Like the zombified crew members who have risen from the dead and can’t be stopped by bullets or flame-throwers, but melt on contact with a caustic cleaner. Then there’s the Big Cheese of the alien horde, a creature that looks like the lovechild of Star Wars’ Rancor and Jabba the Hutt. Not going to win any beauty contests, that one.
Amid all of this, the CGI gunfire and flame-thrower action, while not poorly done, lacks in whatever it is that takes ‘okay visual effects’ to the next level. Still, they are able to compel the action forward so that we can witness some dissatisfying oral tentacles.
Though, in all fairness, there are some positives here, as well. For instance, Kearsley, who is tasked with acting alongside the likes of Willis and Jane, holds his own well. Thankfully, he is given more to work with than the other two actors, who are largely delivering tropes. The younger actor works what he is given and delivers a believable enough performance to keep the film moving, and that’s saying a lot. And though she doesn’t receive quite as much time and material, Nichols gives a noteworthy performance as Chambers, the strongest female crew member in the bunch.
To play nice, the movie does offer a unique new idea: zombies in space! Although that doesn’t appear to be exactly the premise that the writers were going for. Rather, with elements taken from Sci-Fi classics, Breach seemingly aims for a light-hearted approach to its material, dancing across the line into comedy at times, while attempting to create a bold, attention-grabbing experience. In some ways it does not entirely fail at this, but there are far better films that explore the idea that, in space, no one can hear you scream. For all of the above, Cryptic Rock gives Breach 3 of 5 stars.