No actor alive today gives less of a s*** than Bruce Willis. It takes more effort to watch a Bruce Willis performance than it does for Bruce Willis to actually give that performance. To watch Bruce Willis in a movie is to watch a master not at work.
It's almost impossible to pinpoint the moment Bruce Willis went from a roguish action hero who would kick ass with a twinkle in his eye and a quip in his mouth to a man who steadfastly refuses to even phone it in.
As an actor Bruce Willis sees the phone and, on a good day, may pick up that phone. But tapping out a number? Sorry. That's not something Bruce Willis is prepared to do.
What Bruce Willis is prepared to do is very little. What makes him such a perplexing character is that no actor alive today works harder than he does.
This year alone he has six movies in various stages of completion. Six! Last year was a slow year, presumably because of the Covid pandemic, yet Bruce Willis still managed to appear in three films. 2019? There were five Bruce Willis movies. 2018? Four. Etc etc.
He works his arse off. He also spends more time on auto-pilot than a 747 jumbo jet crossing the Pacific Ocean. This is the Bruce Willis paradox.
His latest is a sci-fi action flick called Cosmic Sin and it's in cinemas now. Critics have not been impressed. It's sitting on a miserable 13 per cent on review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes. It is not a good movie.
I quite liked it. Don't get me wrong, it's terrible. I can't recommend anyone spend their money or time seeing it. But, honestly, I haven't laughed so hard during a movie in a long, long time.
The problem is that Cosmic Sin is a very serious sci-fi action flick with very serious things to say about the nature of man and our place in the universe and not a side-splitting comedy.
Cosmic Sin may take its alien invasion concept extremely solemnly but it is very funny. Just not when it's trying to be. There's a comic relief character whose gags are more tired than Bruce Willis' unchanging expression.
What happens is that aliens invade and a rag-tag team of seven soldiers has to stop them. Bruce Willis stars as a disgraced former general with the very action hero name of James Ford. He's drinking at a bar when his old superior comes calling to bring him out of enforced retirement for one last job. Stop me if you've heard this one before...
Ford's character is described as, "a man too violent for war", but what we see on screen is a man too lazy to get off his chair. If you think you're bored during the film, just take a look at Bruce Willis in the film.
No matter what's happening around him - an explosive firefight, a teary farewell, a character's death - his expression is as unchanging and emotive as concrete. His half-closed eyes only ever squint disdain. And although his tightly pursed lips project more grit than a roll of P40 sandpaper I suspect they are more likely just stifling his disinterested yawns.
Being the biggest name in the movie by far his is a notable presence. While his co-stars really sweat to sell the alien threat allowing fear to flood their eyes as they shout for back-up and indulge in an excessive amount of dive rolling, Bruce Willis can barely be bothered to stand up.
As everyone around him runs for their lives he displays all the urgency of a lethargic tortoise, slowly moseying out of frame like he has no particular place to be and no particular interest in getting there. This juxtaposition is never anything short of hilarious.
Okay, I'm not being entirely fair. There's a single moment in the movie when Bruce Willis emotes something other than heroic indifference. It's right after he grits his way through an emotional speech and attempts to pull off what I can only presume was supposed to be a warm and comforting smile. This image of Bruce Willis' spiritless and dead-eyed smile will haunt my dreams for years to come.
Still, none of this has put me off Bruce Willis movies. You bet I'll watch his upcoming action flicks. They all have badass titles like Midnight in the Switchgrass, American Siege and the awesomeness that is Out of Death.
Will they be any good? I sincerely doubt it. But if the least Bruce Willis can do is make them, and rest assured he will do the least he can do, then the least I can do is watch them.