Saturday, February 13, 2021

Breach (2020)



Deep in Space, They Are Not Alone

Movie Review:


A hardened mechanic (Bruce Willis) is one of a few chosen to stay awake and maintain an interstellar arc fleeing a dying planet Earth in the 23rd century. The last of humanity cryosleeps in the arc while the skeleton crew keep the lights on. However, humans are not the only guests on board. A shapeshifting alien creature has also taken residence and it has a habit of zombifying those it infects. Our crew of janitors must fight the creature and its spawn before the ship reaches New Earth and humanity truly is doomed.

This was better than it had any right to be. I am a sucker for cheap sci-fi action horror and this delivered for me. If you’ve seen the 2008 Steve Railsback film Plaguers, it is basically the same thing as that but with an extra 0 on the budget (maybe not, but you get the idea). Unfortunately unlike Plaguers, Breach does not feature any sexy space pirates. It does however share the similar story of crew on ship being picked off one by one by space zombies spawned from an infection. I wonder if Director John Suits had seen Plaguers first.


Suits has quite a few genre films under his belt, including a similar end of humanity outer space film 3022. I’ve not seen that one but I have seen another of his, Pandemic, which also starred Rachel Nichols in a leading role and had zombies (but not in space). So, he definitely has a “type” you could say.

Bruce Willis has – rightfully so, some would say – had a reputation the last decade of taking any and every role that will pay him and put in very little effort for a front cover billing. The same cannot be said for Breach. I won’t say this is The Sixth Sense or Fifth Element level Bruce, but he’s not phoning it in. Of course, as any connoisseur of direct to video films would expect, a big name appearing front and centre on a DVD cover means they likely have a small role. Bruce isn’t Steven Seagal in Sniper: Special Ops here, but he is not the lead. What he is though is Clay, the cantankerous head janitor who makes space moonshine and talks garbage. And he does it well. He appears in a great deal of the film too, so there’s less that feeling of bait-and-switch going on.


The lead goes to Cody Kearsley who plays Noah, a stowaway. I had never heard of him before, but aside from a handful of television series he apparently played Hawkeye in a 2017 Power Rangers movie. That was definitely a movie I had no interest in seeing (Voltron beats Power Rangers, all day every day). In Breach however he is fine as an every-man trying to protect his family from shape-shifting aliens.

He is supported by Rachel Nichols, Timothy V. Murphy and Johnny Messner as part of the crew designated to stay awake while the other leftovers of humanity cryosleep. If I’m going to pick holes in a low budget sci-fi action film, then it will usually be with the acting but I can’t even say that here. I’ve always likes Rachel (she was fantastic in the series Continuum) so no problems there, and like I already said Bruce was putting in more than an afternoon’s casual effort here. Our lead is fine, the supporting characters all fine (though don’t progress much, if you care about such things). And we have Admiral Thomas Jane who isn’t in it much but barks orders like you’d expect any marine type to when he does show up. There’s really quite a lot of big names in this film, which is kind of surprising.


Sci-Fi like this has to have good effects to be believable, and Breach doesn’t do too badly here. They mask the low budget pretty well I feel, and use the limited ship corridor sets well (I didn’t even notice the packing styrofoam on the walls). The whole thing takes places on this ship that looks a bit like Red Dwarf on the inside. In fact, that show starred space janitors as well… hang on, Red Dwarf had the episodes Polymorph and Emohawk: both about shape-shifting aliens that the crew hunted down in cheap looking corridors. I think John Suits is good at taking notes. But I digress – the effects. Some decent looking lasers, a not terrible CG shapeshifter, and some pretty well done practical effects zombies (with a smattering of bloodies limbs for good measure) is what you get here, and they make up for the occasional wobbly set and dodgy hyperspace effect.

I’ll wrap it up by saying – good job Breach. You delivered what I hoped for in 90 solid minutes and I was never bored. Part Aliens, part The Thing and apparently part Red Dwarf – though thankfully in this instance without the comedy. I prefer my Sci-Fi action played straight. Extra good job to Bruce for not phoning this one in, but just don’t expect Academy Award levels here either and you’ll do just fine.