We Review: Life “Ended up being 2 stars at best!” – MR

Life (2017 film)

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Life (2017 film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Produced by
Written by
Music by Jon Ekstrand
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Edited by
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 18, 2017 (SXSW)
  • March 24, 2017(United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $58 million[2]
Box office $28.7 million[3]

Life is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars; however, the crew finds their discovery might not be what it seems.

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 18, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 24, 2017 by Columbia Pictures


A multinational six-member crew aboard the International Space Station performs a successful capture of a space probe returning from Mars with a soil sample. The crew is tasked with studying the sample, which could prove to be the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. After extracting a single cell from the sample, British biologist Hugh Derry is able to revive the dormant organism with atmospheric adjustments and glucose. It quickly grows into a multi-celled organism and reacts to stimuli. The crew discovers that each cell in the organism is a myocyte, neuron and photoreceptor, all at the same time. The Quarantine Officer Dr. Miranda North remarks that the organism is “…all muscle, all brain and all eye.”

The organism, now named Calvin by school children in America, evolves and grows quickly. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant. Concerned with its survival, Hugh attempts to revive Calvin with a mild electric shock. Calvin re-animates, becomes hostile and grabs hold of Hugh’s right hand, crushing it as Hugh struggles to get free. Calvin escapes the containment cube into the room with Hugh. While it devours a lab rat and immediately evolves and grows in size, American engineer Rory Adams enters the room and rescues Hugh. However, sensing his presence, Calvin latches onto Rory’s leg. Crew Doctor, David Jordan, locks Rory inside the room to keep Calvin in containment. Rory manages to remove Calvin from his leg and attacks it with a handheld incinerator. Calvin shows remarkable resilience to fire and evades Rory’s attacks. Calvin then attacks Rory and forces its way into his mouth, killing him from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth, evolved and even larger, Calvin then manages to escape from the room through an emergency fire suppression vent. Hugh theorizes that the lack of breathable air on Mars is probably what kept the organism dormant until that point.

Finding their communication with Earth cut off, mission commander Katerina Golovkina performs a space walk to fix the antenna. Calvin has consumed ISS coolant as a source of nutrition, and now escapes through a valve on the antenna and attacks Katerina outside the ISS. The attack ruptures Katerina’s EVA suit’s coolant system, effectively drowning her inside her suit. Calvin attempts to re-enter the station through the thrusters. An attempt to stop Calvin results in the ISS entering a decaying orbit. Japanese pilot Sho Kendo informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a standard orbit, but that it would allow Calvin back into the station. The crew formulate a plan to try and make Calvin dormant by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh suddenly enters cardiac arrest, the crew manages to resuscitate him only to realize that Calvin had attached himself to Hugh’s leg (who is paraplegic) and was feeding off of him. Now having grown into a much larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho makes a run for the sleeping cabin and seals himself inside his pod as Calvin attempts to crack the glass and get to him. Miranda and David realize that Calvin has ingested one of the vital sign trackers on Hugh’s suit and begin to track him. Using Hugh’s body and blood as bait, they lure Calvin away from Sho and trap it in a module to deprive it of oxygen.


  • Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. David Jordan, American, senior medical officer
  • Rebecca Ferguson as Dr. Miranda North, British, Quarantine Officer
  • Ryan Reynolds as Rory “Roy” Adams, American, pilot of the International Space Station.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Sho Murakami, Japanese, system engineer.
  • Ariyon Bakare as Hugh Derry, British, biologist.
  • Olga Dihovichnaya as Katerina Golovkina, Russian, commander of the International Space Station crew.

    Our Thoughts

    Life was a great idea that wasn’t executed well. The effects were sci-fi channel-ish and not up to par with other modern “creature” films. The acting was only good in spurts and Ryan Reynolds should have been billed as “co-star,” not as “stealing the show,” as the TV commercial and movie theater trailer touts. All in all this could have been great, but ended up being 2 stars at best! – MR

Find “Life” and see the new trailer here.


About twittersfantasyebookguide

We watch and review fantasy and Sci-Fi movies. (Both new releases and classics via - Amazon Streaming) We also tweet about fantasy genre news from across the blogosphere. Follow us @WizardWyrm on twitter. View all posts by twittersfantasyebookguide

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