BREACH (2020)

Breach.jpg

Studio:     Saban Films
Director:    John Suits
Writer:     Edward Drake, Corey Large
Producer:  Corey Large, Danny Roth
Stars:     Cody Kearsley, Bruce Willis, Rachel Nichols, Kassandra Clementi, Johnny Messner, Corey Large, Callen Mulvey, Timothy V. Murphy, Johann Urb, Angie Pack, Ralf Moeller, Thomas Jane

Review Score:

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Summary:

An alien parasite sows paranoia and chaos aboard an interplanetary shuttle of refugees fleeing a ravaged Earth.


Synopsis:     

Review:

No, I didn¡¯t expect ¡°Breach¡± to be good. It¡¯s an ¡°Alien¡± meets ¡°The Thing¡± knockoff, except in a low-budget body that time-warped off a 1990s TV sporting the syndicated sci-fi stylings of ¡°Andromeda¡± and ¡°Babylon 5.¡± I was merely morbidly curious to see how much of a mess could be made by a notoriously disinterested A-list actor sleepwalking through a bad B-movie.

The question on everyone¡¯s mind is, ¡°What the hell is Bruce Willis doing in direct-to-streaming slums?¡± This is typically territory for Tom Sizemore or Kevin Sorbo. Is Willis under the weight of hefty alimony payments? Tax troubles? On top of that, what kind of contractual screw-up resulted in Willis being second-billed behind newcomer Cody Kearsley, whose onscreen personality is as beige as his character¡¯s janitor jumpsuit?

Although I don¡¯t know what money matters might have made a quick buck grab-and-go gig appealing, I have a guess as to how Bruce Willis became involved. ¡°Breach¡± boasts a whopping 20 executive producers, a credit that¡¯s commonly honorary for a creative acknowledgment or cash contribution with no direct labor required. One of ¡°Breach¡¯s¡± EPs is Stephen Eads, who co-founded ¡®Willis Brothers Films¡¯ with Bruce and his sibling David. Whether it was a debt, a favor, or old-fashioned blackmail, that solves some of the mystery regarding how a pedestrian project like this even blipped on Bruce¡¯s radar. I don¡¯t know what Eads looks like. I can somehow still picture him dressing down credited colleagues by shouting, ¡°Hey, I brought Bruce Willis on board! What did the other 19 of you do?¡±

Unless blockbusters dry up and DTV detritus becomes a trend, I wouldn¡¯t worry much about ¡°Breach¡± thrusting Bruce on an irreversible downward trajectory. He doesn¡¯t stick around long enough for the stink to soak in. Willis has both a stunt double and a ¡°cast double,¡± which I assume is the term for another bald man who could be shot from behind or the side, ensuring Willis didn¡¯t have to show his face on set for a single second longer than was absolutely essential.

Second star Thomas Jane gets away with an even lighter sentence. Jane earns the coveted ¡°and¡± credit as well as prominent placement on the poster. This is despite his ¡°oh, I forgot he was there¡± character going into ¡°cryo-stasis¡± before the 10-minute mark and not emerging again for another hour. Willis must have fired his agent for letting him get roped into this lame duck rodeo. He should look into hiring Jane¡¯s management. They know how to get their clients more recognition with even less work.

Since ¡°Breach¡¯s¡± thin fiction recycles every ¡°alien attacks an isolated space crew¡± movie ever made, but with none of the big screen spectacle or memorable uniqueness, the next question is, why would anyone watch it? Maybe you want to see Bruce Willis hide his disdain while choking on outdated action hero quips like, ¡°who wants barbecue?¡± while firing a flamethrower. Maybe you want to see his stuntman bang into Styrofoam walls or barrel roll on the floor. Hopefully you want to see interchangeable actors crawl through air ducts or waddle down the same two hallways over and over again, because ¡°Breach¡± has far more filler than it does action, intrigue, or reasons to keep your eyes open.

Ironically, the inclusion of name actors makes ¡°Breach¡± look worse than it is. The film is no more odious than an ordinary Syfy original or basic cable MOW. Effects are ok by those standards and there¡¯s a cool enough creature too. Swap Willis and Jane for two nobodies and I might think this was a valiant effort by upstart greenhorns busting their humps and their piggy banks to get their feet wet in filmmaking. Only tolerant fans of cheap indie sci-fi would have watched it, and they would have known to adjust rating scales accordingly.

But Willis and Jane come with expectations not just for them, but for the quality of any production they¡¯re promoting by default. By attracting eyes from outside niche genre entertainment, ¡°Breach¡± becomes burdened with anticipation for epicness it has no hope of achieving with a boilerplate script, small soundstage, and minimal effort by its main attractions. If this were an extended episode of ¡°Stargate SG-1¡± circa 1997, I¡¯d say it was average. As a modern, mainstream wannabe overextending the credit limit of its stars? ¡°Breach¡¯s¡± blandness makes it a bomb.

Review Score: 35