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Updated: Apr 24

Like the explorers depicted in LIFE, sometimes you just need to go out on a limb and try something daring, like watching this quickly buried spring release from Sony.

With a big budget and strong special effects that equal the floating space dexterity of "Gravity", the film doesn't cut corners in the casting department.

We meet our International crew, including witty hot dog Rory (Ryan Reynolds), serious long-timer David (Jake Gyllenhaal), Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson of the last MI film), Murykami (Hiroyuki Sanada from "Lost" and "The Last Samurai") and Hugh (the terrific Ariyon Bakare).

They have just recovered a Mars exploratory vehicle and hover above the Earth in the International Space Station to examine all the items collected on the red planet.

When one of the soil samples shows signs of life, the film quickly morphs into "Alien" territory with a very smart, very fast growing species.

The early scenes of its growth and first physical contact with Hugh are suspenseful and interesting.

As our cast becomes an interstellar "Ten Little Indians" and begin dropping one by one to their guest, each of the characters faces their own challenge.

The settings are cool, the effects are superb, the alien is worthy and the film is entertaining in a predictable middle of the road sci-fi way.

I kept wishing that the story would give Gyllenhaal, one of our best American actors, and Reynolds, one of our most charming, something more to do.

Jake is especially wasted, but acquits himself well with the material he's provided.

The characters can be kind of maddening to watch, rigidly following protocol one moment and then throwing rules and common sense out the window the next for the sake of a plot turn.

The ending goes for a "Planet of the Apes" vibe, but provides a bit of a whimper rather than a gasp.

Entertaining enough and better than the critics labeled it, LIFE tells us to "be careful what you search for". Hell, I was just wanted to be entertained. Hold your search for originality at the door and you'll enjoy LIFE.

We'll give it a C+.

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