Daily Archives: August 14, 2021

Breach (2020)

*. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again here now: Thank goodness for low expectations! I thought Breach was pretty much going to be a total piece of crap and . . . it is. So points for not being disappointing!
*. Another disposable entry in the strange, almost after-career of Bruce Willis. Does he need the money this bad? In his Between Two Ferns interview Zach Galifianakis even asks him at one point if he knows that some actors turn parts down.
*. Whatever the motivation, Bruce keeps working at a huge number of crap projects. Breach was one of only three movies he appeared in in 2020. I say “only” because he’d appeared in five in 2019 (well, one was as a cameo voice in The Lego Movie 2) and six in 2021. The man likes to work.
*. None of this seems to affect his status as an icon though. He’s obviously just mailing his performances in, but that’s what people know and expect. Indeed it’s what they like about Bruce. They want to see him laid back and cracking some droll jokes about whatever’s going on. He’s cinematic comfort food. As he is again here.
*. So, Breach. What they did here was they took all the basic ingredients from various horror movies set on spaceships, stuck them in a blender, and voila! A space-horror smoothie without a single original thought behind it. Does that mean it’s bad? Not necessarily. Because let’s face it, if you’re here for Bruce then you’re probably not here for something different or challenging. You’re here for that comfort food.
*. You know the drill, or at least you should by now. There’s a spaceship full of the usual assortment of mixed nuts and bolts. Some soldiers. Some doctors. Some mechanics. And a pair of janitors. Except neither of the janitors is really a janitor.
*. A deadly alien gets on board and starts infecting the crew, basically turning their insides into black goo while transforming them into zombies. The heroes run away, and fight, and then run away, and then have to kill the mother alien (for lack of a better name), and get to an escape pod while there’s a countdown going on in the background telling them when the ship is going to explode. T-minus one minute, kids! Time to hustle!
*. That’s right, it’s crap. And it isn’t helped by the fact that it’s done on a budget, requiring the use of the same old corridor sets and sliding doors that we’ve seen a thousand times, as well as some below-grade CGI. The story is just the same template that’s been used countless times, sprinkled with lines as familiar as those smoky corridors. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Bruce says as the disintegrated body of the alien begins to recompose itself. Then when it does take its final shape he calls it an “ugly motherfucker.” That’s gold! Or how about the scene where he pulls out his converted flamethrower and says to the zombies “Who wants barbecue?” Damn, that’s screenwriting!

*. So it’s lots of Alien. And The Thing. And Life. And even Leprechaun 4: In Space. The acting, outside of Bruce (who isn’t really “acting”) is abysmal. Cody Kearsley, who badly needs a haircut, just isn’t working as the romantic lead, and nobody else is doing any better. Continuity errors, which I normally don’t care about, are quite jarring in the editing. The plot doesn’t really make any sense, with the instigating event coming about because another one of those jaded environmental types who see humanity as a disease has decided to pull the plug on the species. Enough of this character already!
*. At some point I have to think that they just stopped trying. The movie doesn’t even make any internal sense. Why is there such a big deal made about waking the Admiral up from cryosleep (which is as easily achieved as tapping on the glass of his cryo-pod), when he and his space marines are of no use at all when it comes to fighting the zombies? Did Kearsley not tell them that guns were no use against them? Because that’s a bit of information that might have helped.
*. Actually it’s not just guns that are useless. Flamethrowers, lasers, and even grenades don’t do much against these particular zombies. (Nor does setting off explosives inside the spaceship do anything to damage said spaceship.) Our janitor heroes, however, have an ace up their sleeve with some industrial-strength cleaning solution that is as strong as Xenomorph blood. This actually made me smile, as it took me back some thirty-plus years to my own stint (I’m not proud) occasionally cleaning washrooms at a public park. When faced with one intractable stain I had an experienced crew hand give me a bottle with no label other than a skull-and-crossbones on it, saying “This will take care of anything.” And it did! I still don’t know what it was, but it was obviously a useful chemical to have around.
*. How any of this works is beyond me. Somehow they rig their guns into giant supersoakers so they can spray the zombies with chemicals, which sadly isn’t as much fun as it sounds since we don’t get to see any zombies melting. I can’t help thinking Willis’s salary was more than the rest of the film’s budget. So forget about any cool effects.
*. As with the editing gaps so with skips in the plot. Why does the chemical work so well against the zombies but doesn’t do anything against the mother alien? Until, that is, it does? And how the hell are the zombies punching dents into a steel door that looks at least six-inches thick with their bare hands? Come on, people.
*. Well, it’s stupid. And the final scene is just the stupid icing on the stupid cake. But it’s what I was expecting, which means that if you’re in the mood for this kind of fare (read: brainless, low-budget crap about alien zombies on a spaceship) then it will deliver just what you’re looking for.