The days when you see Vin Diesel’s name headlining a marquee for a feature film, you’re not really going into the theater expecting much in the way of performance, plot, or logic. With that in mind, Diesel’s latest outing, “Bloodshot,” sticks with that level of bar well in mind. Based on the superhero of the same name from Valiant Comics, the idea was to use the film as a launching point into what could evolve into a wider Valiant Comics-cinematic universe. If they were trying to outdo Universal’s Dark Universe “The Mummy” launch attempt, they might not have quite have missed the mark quite that much, but it’s not far short.
In the film, Diesel plays Ray Garrison, a Marine who is captured, tortured, and killed (but only after having been forced to watch his wife, Gina (played by Talulah Riley) be killed in front of him). Suddenly he wakes up, having been donated by the U.S. Military as a science experiment and filled with nanobots who give him supernatural strength, and healing abilities (they basically go to work repairing him as soon as any damage is taken). He finds out that the organization who has been running this little science experiment has a number of other super soldiers, but each with specific abilities (one is immune to toxic gasses, another has Geordi La Forge-level super vision, another has super legs). Of course Mr. Garrison (I had to put that in for the South Park fans out there), is the only one who was rebuild from a dead body, and entirely full of the special bots, so he’s the best of them all.
He soon recovers his memories, and sets out to get vengeance on his wife’s killers. Now it turns out after he delivers his cold dish of revenge that there’s actually an interesting story in the midst of this emo-filled romp. Without delivering the spoiler (unless people who have seen Memento will spot it), not everything is quite what it seems to Ray, and then things become interesting. Until they remember themselves and deliver a by the numbers – the new super-guy has gone rogue, so send out the other troops to try to take him down one at a time until it’s the last act and when we are supposed to have our boss fight back at the lab.
There is nothing wrong with having a silly time in the midst of an action movie, I mean several of the “Fast & Furious” films are genuinely fun and have their hearts in the right place. Bloodshot however, like it’s titular character, has a nanobot-created heart, and not one that the audience can really feel for. At a time when Diesel’s action hero peers are able to deliver films with at least a vibe of having fun with what they’re doing, Diesel’s performances are progressively coming off as if he’s just trying to be the loner-emo-gangster vibe that he’s never really grown beyond. When trying to be a superhero, he needs to try to connect more with his characters being being a caricature.
Before the end of the first round of battles we discover how basically indestructible Ray is now that he’s got his insta-repair bots, and that pulls all of the tension away. Without tension, and without a connection to Ray or his plight, and it becomes a farcical romp. Yea, some people will enjoy it, because escapism is what we all need right now, but if they remember it in a month, it’ll be its own miracle.
“Bloodshot” is rated PG-13 and is open in theaters everywhere.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.