The ISS team consists of Biologist Dr. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), Systems Engineer Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool), Quarantine Officer Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen), Pilot Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada, Lost, Helix), Senior Medical Officer David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler), and Commander Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya).
Hugh Derry is the first to find the tiny organism in the Martian soil sample, and as per a goodwill and PR effort, an American school names the creature "Calvin" after their school's namesake, President Calvin Coolidge. However, the team is amazed not only by Calvin's genetic makeup, which includes single-celled organisms working together as one unit, but with multi-functioning cells, meaning it's all muscle, all brain, and all eye, all the time. Calvin also seems to be rapidly growing and adapting to his surroundings. Derry is enamored by the creature, that is, until Calvin decides that he is tired of being analyzed and prodded and he literally grabs Derry's hand in the sealed containment box, crushing it to bits and knocking the scientist unconscious from the pain.
Naturally, his teammates want to rush into the sealed lab to help, but Miranda North, who is responsible for the security of the mission, insists that no one intervene, as the lab, itself, is a firewall protecting them from the creature. Long story short, the team's mechanic, Rory, can't stand watching his friend hover in Zero-G as Calvin attempts to escape his confines and he rescues Derry, only to find himself locked in the lab with Calvin. From then on out, the team realizes how clever, adaptive, and dangerous Calvin has become, constantly evolving and growing, and they realize they must not let it escape the lab, no matter the cost. They also realize that, while it was dormant on Mars, it was the only thing they found there, simply because it probably eradicated all of the other life on Mars, which is all the more reason to be certain that it never gets back to Earth.
Naturally, it cleverly escapes the lab and then it's a matter of trying to kill it at all costs. One by one, the team's plans fail to contain the creature and, worse yet, the damage done to the ISS is causing it to spin off course and towards Earth. Alone and stuck in space in a Zero-G atmosphere, with a killer Martian that is growing by the second and bent on their complete destruction... and you think you are having a bad day.
Life is a good thriller; the closer it gets to the ending, the more intense it becomes, as a good thriller should. All of the acting is solid, with Ryan Reynolds providing the sparse comic relief, and everyone else portraying the sheer claustrophobic fear that they would exhibit, given their particular predicament. It reminded me a bit of the original Alien, although it wasn't quite as intense, at least not all the way through. By the time the film comes screeching to its twisty ending, I was well and truly pleased with the experience and found it quite satisfying.
Naturally, it looks absolutely gorgeous on a 4K setup, however there were some bizarre grid lines in one of the very earliest scenes of space, pulling me out of the film's submersion a bit. Aside from this, though, it looked great. On the Blu-ray disc, you'll find a handful of wisely deleted scenes, along with featurettes on working almost completely in a Zero-G environment; creating Calvin; crafting a horror/thriller within the confines of the ISS and space; and finally, a series of Astronaut Diaries meant to appear as if they were recorded as the team is fighting for their lives. All of the special features are worth watching, but I especially enjoyed the Zero-G featurette and the Astronaut Diaries.
Overall, Life is a good sci-fi horror/thriller and I really liked the ending. I can't say it was completely unexpected, but it was really well delivered and the perfect ending to the film. If you are looking for a good space-based nail-biter, check out Life.