Film Review – Bloodshot
In the superhero comic book world, Marvel and DC may be the big dogs on the block. But there is a whole group of independent comic book publishers that may not be as famous but can develop a loyal following of their own characters. While the most famous of these is Image Comics, the company that gave us The Walking Dead among others, one that’s been around for decades now is Valiant Comics. A lot of their properties tend to be the muscly super-soldier types. And one of their most well-known characters just got his own movie which is meant to start a film franchise for the company. Bloodshot has made it to the big screen.
Vin Diesel stars as the titular soldier. The film begins with his going on a special ops mission where he displays his elite fighting skills. After taking down a group of terrorists he returns to his wife who is lit like an underwear model in her intimate scenes with him. The bad guys take revenge by taking both of them captive where they proceed to torture and kill both of them. However, that’s not the end. Our hero wakes up to find he has been resurrected by a genius scientist played by Guy Pearce. His rebirth is courtesy of high tech nano-bots that allow Diesel’s character to regenerate as well as provide super strength. Pearce’s doctor introduces him to a new group of special operatives all equipped with various high tech prosthetics that give them all essentially super powers. But Bloodshot is preoccupied with revenge on the terrorists that killed his wife.
Bloodshot falls firmly in the kinda fun but not great category. The whole thing feels almost from another decade. The comic book story reminds one of the overly muscly underdeveloped Image characters from the early 1990s during the comic bust that almost sank the industry itself. The film is reminiscent of superhero movies from the pre-MCU world as well. Think back to when Spawn or Blade or The Crow were the best we could hope for in a comic adaptation. Even the character Bloodshot himself, though true to the source material, feels somewhat derivative. Smash together Wolverine’s healing factor with The Punisher’s deadly need for vengeance, stir in some RoboCop and just a pinch of Total Recall, season with Neo from The Matrix, and you get Vin Diesel as a cybernetic warrior. It’s not all together bad, just derivative.
It also doesn’t help that there is A LOT of CGI going on here. In particular, a climactic battle between Bloodshot and another technologically enhanced character looks very much like a video game cut scene. There are a lot of action scenes that are of the Michael Bay school of blowing things up for the sake of blowing things up. This is the appealing to the tastes of 12- year-old boy school of action film. Don’t get me wrong. I personally am a big super-nerd with a penchant for the tastes of the immature. So, this film isn’t without its merits. Sometimes things look cool and gunplay can be fun.
We all know that Vin Diesel can make for an engaging action hero. He’s not given a lot to do here emotionally. There is a speech he has about being able to choose his own destiny that sounds similar to the “It’s all about family” diatribes sprinkled throughout the various Fast & Furious movies. The supporting players are having derivative fun as well. Eiza González is present as one of the enhanced heroes who has a photogenically shot underwater martial arts display at one point. Sam Heughan of Outlander fame appears as a cranky member of the special group. Toby Kebbell gets to stand out as the villain who tortures Diesel while doing a jig reminiscent of Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs.
As you can tell though, there are a lot of other, better movies of which you are reminded. Bloodshot is serviceable enough. But it’s not necessarily strong enough to launch it’s own cinematic universe. And at this point you have to be truly exceptional to stand out in the Superhero crowd.