“Bloodshot” stars Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, and Guy Pearce. Released on March 13, 2020, the film is about a marine who is equipped with enhanced nanotechnology.
The film features the directorial debut of David S. F. Wilson, and it is based on the Valiant Comics character of the same name created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton. The thing about being created with superpowers is that you can either use them to help people or use them for devious purposes. When you’re working for someone who makes that choice for you, it might’ve been time for you to start rethinking about your career as a superhero. Before we see Vin Diesel behind the wheel once again in the upcoming “Fast & Furious 9”, or “F9” as they like to call it, the action star is heading back into superhero territory this weekend, but not as a talking tree. This film introduces a new kind of superhero that’s neither Marvel nor DC, which might not bode well for kids who grew up with these comic book giants, but it might do wonders for those who like to read any type of comic book during their spare time. Long story short, this superhero appeared in a series of comic books that were published by Valiant Comics in the early 90s. Haven’t heard of it? Neither did I. I haven’t heard of this character nor Valiant Comics until I read that they’re making a film based on “Bloodshot” and that Diesel is starring in it as the title character, and there’s no denying the fact that I would see anything that this guy is involved in. He’s got “Fast & Furious”, “Riddick”, and “xXx” under his belt, so let’s see if he’s able to make another action franchise out of this.
Following the basic superhero origin formula, the film focuses on Ray Garrison (Diesel), a marine who returns home from the war to spend some quality time with his wife (Talulah Riley). However, their lives quickly came to a tragic end when they were suddenly killed by an assassin. Luckily, a team of scientists from a mysterious organization was able to bring Ray back to life, but here’s the catch. He’s now equipped with nanotechnology that gives him superhuman abilities and regeneration. However, he’s having a hard time recalling the events that happened before he died. When he suddenly remembers the person responsible for the death of him and his wife, he sets out to bring that person to justice. His quest for revenge will soon lead him to discover the organization’s true purpose. This is another superhero film that attempts to follow in the same footsteps as Marvel and DC when it comes to introducing their characters to newcomers via film. Based on my experience with these films, there are multiple things that make them work for me. You got to have characters that are interesting, fun, and relatable, you got to have the high-stakes action that puts the main character’s powers to the test, and more importantly, you got to have a story that provides entertainment and heart. Unfortunately for me, “Bloodshot” didn’t even come close to achieving those qualities. Without comparing it to the other superhero films from Marvel and DC, the film had a few entertaining moments that prevented it from being unwatchable, but other than that, it’s another generic action B-movie that might impress a fair amount of people who want to see Vin Diesel beat people up and hear his deep, manly voice for over an hour and a half. If you go into this film expecting it to be like “Iron Man” or “Wonder Woman”, there’s a big chance that you’ll be unsatisfied with its test results. As I mentioned before, the film had a simplistic superhero origin formula that helped popularize the genre. While the formula itself did a fine job at introducing the title character and what he’s capable of, it felt like the film was only using the formula to create another superhero franchise instead of combining it with a well-earned story. In addition to its predictable formula, the story was also filled with one-dimensional characters, jokes that put a damper on its intended tone, and dialogue that will make some film critics want to have regeneration powers themselves so they can shoot themselves repeatedly in the head without dying. Why is it like this, you ask? Two words: Jeff Wadlow. He didn’t serve as a director this time as that role belonged to David S. F. Wilson, the co-founder of visual effects house Blur Studio, but he did serve as one of the film’s screenwriters. I can clearly tell that his fingerprints were all over this film based on the things I mentioned earlier. Now I’m not going to be like the snobby film critics and bully the guy because I don’t want to be that type of critic. Plus it’s extremely hurtful. I am only judging on how he did and what he can improve on. Much like Wadlow’s last two films, he had some ideas that could’ve worked in “Bloodshot”, but he didn’t do a lot to expand on those ideas in terms of developing the characters and the story. It’s a bit more tolerable than his adaptation of “Fantasy Island”, but it’s not enough to keep me from questioning his role as both a director and a screenwriter. As for its pros, I will give the actors credit for delivering some tolerable performances. Vin Diesel’s performance as the title character was exactly what I expected from him, charming and manly, which might satisfy some fans of the actor. Whether you like him or not, this is how he acts in his films, and I am okay with that. The only supporting actor that I surprisingly enjoyed the most was Lamorne Morris as Wilfred Wigans, the tech guy who assists Ray. Even though the jokes were a bit forced at times, Morris was able to make some of his amusing moments…well, amusing. The action sequences in “Bloodshot” were also the reason why it became slightly watchable. On the one hand, it’s got a few scenes that worked well with its Snyder-like slo-mo shots and some bearable use of CGI. On the other hand, it’s got several scenes that utilized its shaky-cam and quick-edit maneuvers like the other generic action films that came before it. They’re not complete eye-sores like the ones in “Mile 22”, but they can be a bit distracting for those who want the cameraman and the editor to focus clearly on the action.
Overall, aside from the noticeable amount of tolerability and entertainment value in its bloodstream, “Bloodshot” is a mediocre attempt at generating another action franchise for Vin Diesel. Despite some passable performances from the cast and its fun action scenes, the film fails to regenerate itself from its painful wounds, such as its generic formula, uninteresting characters, and weak dialogue. It’s not a superhero masterpiece like “Wonder Woman” and “The Avengers”, but it’s also not a super-powered disaster like “Catwoman” and “Batman & Robin”. I would say that it’s somewhere in-between those two things. This is another film that I would watch at home whenever I have nothing else to do and not feel any regret while watching it because it’s Vin flipping Diesel. He can make any action film tolerable in my eyes when he’s involved in them even though they’re not award-winning gems. If you like Vin Diesel in his other films, you might be okay watching this one, but you might not love it as much as you love the “Fast & Furious” films and “xXx”.