- Bloodshot (2020)
- Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Valiant Entertainment
- Written by Jeff Wadlow & Eric Heisserer
- Directed by Dave Wilson
- Vin Diesel (Ray Garrison)
- Eiza Gonzalez (KT)
- Guy Pearce (Dr. Emil Harting)
- Lamorne Morris (Wilfred Wigans)
- Sam Heughan (Dalton)
- Alexander Hernandez (Tibbs)
- Toby Kebbell (Martin Axe)
- Theatrical release date: March 13, 2020
- Video On Demand: March 24, 2020 (Amazon Prime Video here)
Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the superhero Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly. But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too. Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.
I just wanna start off by saying that this coronavirus quarantine business is a lotta crap. I know, there are a lot of folks out there who’ve had a lot worse than I have, who’ve been sick as a hell or are out of work, but everyone having to put life on hold has been a real buzzkill. All you people out there, staying at home & doing what needs to be done to slow this virus down, you’re killing it. Keep at it. Find some entertainment where you can… Read an article on the internet, or find a good escapist movie to watch.
Hey… I got an idea! First, read this article, and then go watch the movie I’m about to dish about!
I’m a fan of Vin Diesel. I can’t help it… I didn’t want to like any of the Fast & the Furious movies, but against my better judgement I can’t deny that they’re great get out of your head action flicks. The Riddick movies? Love ’em! I even get a kick out The Pacifier, XXX, & The Last Witch Hunter. Okay, Babylon A.D. was pretty awful, but no one bats 1000 anymore. The bottom line is that Diesel does what he does very well, & he just loves doing it. A little secret that unlocked my love for Vin? Go check out some of his interviews where he dishes unabashedly about Dungeons & Dragons.
In Bloodshot, Vin Diesel is in prime form. His turn with Jay Garrison has enough humanity & emotion to make the character more than a wooden cut out, and more than enough outstanding action (sure, some driven by CGI) to make up for any gaps. No one’s trying to recreate or emulate the works of Shakespeare. Diesel & crew knows what they’re doing, & they’re doing with gleeful pride.
Of course, Vin Diesel isn’t the only person in this flick. Guy Pearce is an actor I’ve liked since seeing Memento, & over the years I’ve come to realize that no matter what he’s doing he’s going to do it well. Hell, the guy even pulled off a great turn as a hilariously sarcastic action hero in Lockout (“Wait a minute, I’m being beaten up by a guy name Rupert?”). And I’m gonna go on the record right now to announce that Iron Man 3 was an outstanding entry in the MCU, & that Guy Pearce was a fantastic Mandarin. As Dr. Emil Harting in Bloodshot, he’s got all of the ego-maniacal charm of Hannibal Lector, with none of the icky face eating.
Beyond any big named actors, the supporting cast is really what stood out to me. Everyone (well, almost… more on that in a minute) brought a lot to even the relative background characters, filling in the smaller moments of the movie and making it “larger than the sum of its parts”. I can’t name them all, but I do want to take some time to mention a few highlights…
Lamorne Morris as Wilfred Wigans brought a lot of fast talking whiz-bang to what could been just another generic brainiac. Wigans is the guy who helps Bloodshot turn the tide on his controllers, and he helps to illustrate why you never use proprietary software when creating an experimental super-soldier loaded with high tech computer-driven nanytes. Yeah, we’re all looking at you, Eric (hilariously played by Siddharth Dhananjay.
Eiza González took a role that could’ve easily been just another pretty girl on the screen, & put in the work to make KT a legitimate badass. As a former military diver, she was injured & her lungs were damaged beyond repair. Thanks to Project: Rising Spirit, her cybernetic enhancements let her breathe underwater & automatically filter out airborne toxins. Okay, so she can breathe really well… But let’s not forget the aforementioned badassery… Gonzalez is given time to shine in a few scenes where it’s pretty obvious that she (okay, yeah, & her stunt double) went the extra mile to pull of a couple solid fight scenes.
So, there’s bound to be some not so great in any movie, right? In Bloodshot, it’s the character of Dalton, played by Sam Heughan. I have no doubt that Heughan did everything he could with what he was given, but the bottom line is that Dalton is the prerequisite, stereotypical, fully troped up ex-special forces mad dog killer who just likes to blow shit up. Honestly, as a veteran I get a little tired of that guy who seems to show up in every one of these action flicks as though it takes military training to create a psychopath. Whatever, it is what it is & it didn’t really take me out of the movie… except maybe for the whole concept of Dalton being able to go toe to toe with Bloodshot because he has bionic super legs.
Personally, I thought that Alex Hernandez as Tibbs was totally under served in his role. As a member of Rising Spirit hunting down the rogue Bloodshot, Tibbs had a way more interesting power set. Blinded in an explosion while serving in the military, he’s been given a camera rig that’s connected to his optic nerve center. Through that, he’s able to see in all directions at once, & through the use of drones Tibbs can act as the eye in the sky while simultaneously cruising around on a motorcycle. What’s more, Tibbs is actually more sympathetic to Jay Garrison (Diesel/Bloodshot), working to apprehend him for his employers but still recognizing that he’s “one of us”. That made him a much more interesting character, in my opinion.
There’s one real purpose Dalton contributes to the story, though… pay attention to the scene where he’s talking to the unconscious Garrison, and watch what he does with his gum. That’s the first clue to how long Bloodshot has been serving as the loaded gun for mad scientist Harting. Credit to writers Jeff Wadlow & Eric Heisserer on that, for bringing a little bit of subtlety to the blunt impact weapon that Bloodshot could’ve been.
I’d been looking forward to this flick, & more importantly what it represents for the world of comicbook movies. Valiant Entertainment has a plethora of great characters to pull from (X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Livewire, Shadowman, & my personal favorites Archer & Armstrong), and the hope was for Bloodshot to serve as a launching pad for a movie franchise. While COVID-19 might have pumped the breaks on Bloodshot’s box office launch, I think that this early release to Video On Demand is a good move… probably the only real move Sony had. Hopefully as we move forward, plans for future movies are still on the table.
The bottom line is that Bloodshot is as good an action flick as fans could have hoped for, & anyone who’s read the comics should be pretty happy with the transition. The fight choreography, special effects, cast, & overall production value work together to elevate what could have been an unholy mess of ridiculous plot devices all hashed together just because it looked cool (talking about you, Jupiter Ascending). The finish might have leaned a little too heavily on Diesel’s signature happy feel good ending, but it wrapped things up fine.
Don’t let a little thing like a pandemic pull you away from some solid escapism. Also, my wife (who really doesn’t like action movies at all) said, “At least the guys are pretty.” So that’s something…
Final Score: 10