Main cast: Vin Diesel (Ray Garrison/Bloodshot), Eiza González (Katie), Sam Heughan (Jimmy Dalton), Toby Kebbell (Martin Axe), Lamorne Morris (Wilfred Wigans), Talulah Riley (Gina DeCarlo), Alex Hernandez (Tibbs), Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Nick Baris), and Guy Pearce (Dr Emil Harting)
Director: David SF Wilson
Bloodshot is based on the Valiant Comics super soldier-like character of the same name, but I wouldn’t have known it from watching this movie alone. It sure seems like every other generic action hero film that features a main guy who discovers that he’s been screwed by the people he considers his allies, and now he’s out to bang-bang-bang them all. In fact, the basic premise here amusingly enough suggests that this is more akin to a boring modern-day remake of Mass Effect 2 with all the fun parts removed because Vin Diesel doesn’t want to share the spotlight with sidekicks.
Ray Garrison, a US Marine, was on holiday with his wife Gina when they were captured by terrorist Martin Axe and his men. Axe wants to know some information Ray didn’t have, so he killed Gina and him. Well, not quite him, as soon Ray comes to. He learns that he has been reconstructed using nanites in a project led by Dr Emil Harting – the Illusive Man of this movie – and his partner and second-in-command Katie – the Miranda Lawson of the movie. He soon develops a romance-like thing with Katie while going on missions with Jimmy Dalton and Marcus Tibbs – also cybernetically enhanced former soldiers – to carry out missions on Harting’s behalf.
Our hero soon recalls his past life, including Gina’s death, and goes rogue to avenge her, only to soon realize that nothing is what he thinks it is. Indeed, he’s just a pawn for Harting, as the man alters poor Ray’s memories, wiping the ones he has and implanting new, false ones to suit Harting’s agenda. Yes, our Illusive Man is using bald Shepard to eliminate people who are in his way when it comes to world domination or something. Miranda is getting increasingly disenchanted with her boss, however, thanks to the persuasive charms of Bald Shepard, so Dalton may just get through the day alive after all.
The thing about this movie is that it feels so incredibly dated at many places. Slow motion capture is used to capture dramatic moments during the action scenes – what is this, are we back in the 1990s when everyone wants to do that Neo evades bullets slow-mo thing? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as in a time when every comic book movie is drenched in CGI, a back-to-basics gritty film can be a refreshing thing to watch. The execution here is pretty boring, though. The scenes feel by the numbers, never creative or exciting enough to get the adrenaline pumping. In fact, the whole plot feels very routine, and frankly, something with a similar premise had been much better by recent films such as Upgrade.
The boring action scenes become an issue because Vin Diesel isn’t good enough as an actor to deliver in the character development department. He plays Vin Diesel in everything he’s in – well, except when he’s in those Guardians of the Galaxy movies saying only the same line over and over – so this movie would be a sleeping pill if I were watching only for Mr Diesel’s acting chops. Everything about this movie from Katie to the not-so-nice ex-soldier goons of Harting are all clichés who could have walked in from any formulaic, derivative action movie.
At the end of the day, Bloodshot is still a serviceable movie when one’s expectations are super low. Why bother with this one, though, when it’s just Vin Diesel doing the same old thing all over again, only without flashy and ridiculous special effects to mask the fact that he’s a pretty dull lead actor without a good secondary cast to prop him up?