Review: ‘Bloodshot’ Runs on Diesel and Predictable Plotting
By Daniel Rester
Bloodshot is the latest superhero flick based on a comic to hit the screens. This time it’s inspired by a property from Valiant Comics, and not Marvel or DC for once. Stepping into the role of Ray “Bloodshot” Garrison is Vin Diesel, who is clearly trying to launch another successful franchise outside of his ongoing Fast and Furious films.
Garrison is a Marine who is captured by assassins, witnessing his wife dying before being executed himself. He is brought back to life by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pierce) and his science team. Harting has made Garrison a superhuman killing machine through the use of nanotechnology. Garrison is basically Wolverine in terms of his healing abilities. While Garrison doesn’t recall his past at first, he becomes hellbent on revenge once he remembers what happened to him and his wife.
Dave Wilson makes his feature debut as a director with Bloodshot. He has a background in visual effects for video games and films through Blur Studio. This comes as no surprise as Bloodshot lays visual effects on thick and looks glossy and polished.
Wilson certainly has a creative eye with some of the scenes. One scene involving a truck carrying flour in a tunnel is especially impressive. The action and CGI become a bit too cartoony in the third act, with people fighting while falling down the side of a crumbling building. But before that Wilson shows a sure hand with staging. Hopefully he relies less on silly slo-mo in future projects though.
While the director does fine with visual presentation, the script lets Wilson down by being predictable at nearly every turn and having stock characters. The premise at the center of Bloodshot is interesting, but Wilson and the writers don’t take any intriguing directions with the idea. The villains and supporting heroes feel spelled out from their first appearances onward, which isn’t good since Garrison himself isn’t too fascinating as the protagonist.
There are some disabled characters who have nifty appendages (a robotic arm, a chest piece with multiple cameras, etc.), but Bloodshot never really attempts to dig deep into the complexities of the disabilities. It instead sticks to its rote revenge plotting and a ham-fisted message about not letting your past define your future. The filmmakers make sure we get this message at the end by having Diesel deliver it as a serious speech — while standing with a beautiful woman in front of a sunset over an ocean, of course.
Diesel, he of the glorious growling voice, is fine as Garrison. I’ve always enjoyed him despite his lack of range. He is game to kick ass here and knows he is in a beefy B-movie. Pierce is always welcome in key supporting roles and Toby Kebbell injects some energy into the early scenes as a douchebag named Martin Axe. The rest of the supporting cast is mostly bland, though Lamorne Morris gets in a few funny jabs as a wired computer genius named Wilfred Wigans.
Bloodshot is a functional, meat-and-potatoes sci-fi actioner that has cool effects and a few guilty pleasure thrills. There isn’t enough about it that makes it stand out in the superhero pack though. I think Wilson has potential as a director and Diesel has the muscle to kickstart a new franchise, but both of them need to look for better-written material.
My Grade: 5.7/10 (letter grade equivalent: C+)
MPA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence, some suggestive material and language)
Running Time: 1h 49min
USA Release Date: March 13th, 2020