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The Bruce Willis Sci-Fi Thriller Flop Defying Odds And Gripping Netflix Subscribers

A futuristic sci-fi thriller starring one of Hollywood's most prolific action heroes sounds like a sure-fire hit. This kind of premise should guarantee profit margins that would force executives to greenlight a sequel before the original film has premiered. "Bruce Willis in space" has already been enough of a descriptor to create two different blockbusters from the late '90s. However, as "Cosmic Sin" has shown, even the most reliable film formula can fall short at times.

Set in the year 2524, "Cosmic Sin" stars the iconic Willis as James Ford, a disgraced former military leader who is recruited back into the "Alliance"  by General Eron Ryle (MCU alum Frank Grillo) when a newfound alien civilization threatens an interstellar war. The Paramount-produced film was released in theaters and on-demand on March 21, 2021, and was met with shockingly bad reviews. "Cosmic Sin" holds an astonishing 3% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Christy Longmire of RogerEbert.com saying, "To suggest that Bruce Willis is phoning in his performance in 'Cosmic Sin' would be an insult to telephone communication, which can be an effective means of conveying important information and genuine emotion."

However, it's also worth noting that audiences have received "Cosmic Sin" more warmly, giving it a respectable 66% Audience Score on the aggregate rating site. Now, the film is heating up on Netflix, and we can certainly see why — though it might not be for the reasons that you would think, or that critics would appreciate. Strap in and we'll explain why this astronomically awful film is worth your time and popcorn.

Bruce Willis knows how to save the world

Bruce Willis is no stranger to carrying science fiction films with completely bonkers premises. He double-dipped (or, in this case, double-dove headfirst) into the genre as the '90s were coming to a close. Long before the stench of "Cosmic Sin" was permeating through homes across the nation, the man behind John McClane was a deadbeat cab driver in the futuristic world seen in Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element." Set very far into the future, where New York City fender benders can happen in the air, Korben Dallas (Willis) has the fate of the world literally dropped in his backseat in the form of an alien named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). 

Willis and Jovovich are surrounded by cast members like Gary Oldman and Ian Holm, who are as talented as this film's concept is nuts. It received nomination honors from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Raspberry Awards, proving there's something here for everyone.

One year later, Bruce was back for a film Roger Ebert named as the worst of 1998 — worse, in his eyes, than "Spice World." There's an asteroid "the size of Texas" headed to Earth, and rather than discuss things rationally, NASA decides to send a crew of oil drillers to fly to the asteroid, plant a nuclear bomb, set it off, and be home in time for an Aerosmith montage. "Armageddon" cost $140 million to toss together, and thanks to how much moviegoers enjoy seeing Bruce Willis save the world, the film nearly quadrupled its budget at the box office.

With two back-to-back planet-rescuing films on a resume, most actors would call it a career and move on to other genres. Apparently, Bruce Willis still had an itch, and that leads us to the appropriately named "Cosmic Sin."

Cosmic Sin is the ideal B-Movie watch

The execution of "Cosmic Sin" may not be Oscar-worthy, yet we still consider the film to be worth the watch, especially for fans of space-centric science fiction. While certainly not as high-brow as classics like "Star Trek" and "Battlestar Galactica," the film still offers dazzling interstellar sights and the chance for audiences to immerse themselves in a fantastical world. 

Of course, we can't discount the allure of watching a bad movie, either. For film aficionados, it can be entertaining to watch something shockingly bad, wondering how something so misguided was ever greenlit into production. After all, there are still people who enjoy getting together and watching 2000's John Travolta sci-fi misfire "Battlefield Earth" to this day.

Though Matt Fowler of IGN calls the film "an excruciating watch, top to bottom, featuring an absolute mess of camera work, scenes where actors don't interact with one another, and bottom barrel sci-fi leftovers," if you're looking for something to laugh at with your friends, a movie like "Cosmic Sin" might be your best bet.

"Cosmic Sin" is now streaming on Netflix. Don't say that you haven't been warned.