“They filled my head with nightmares and sent me on a suicide mission.”
To those not well versed in the tangible world of physical media comic books, the names Bloodshot and Valiant Comics may not ring any bells. Odds are you wouldn’t be the only person to question or hear confusion over whether this new Vin Diesel flick is connected to the MCU or something. X-O Manowar aside, Bloodshot is arguably the best and most adaptable source material from the smaller scale comic book publisher Valiant which has had its ups and downs in the shadows of Marvel and DC. Based on the 1990s comic series, Bloodshot sees Diesel play Ray Garrison, a U.S. Marine brought back to life by a mysterious corporation through the innovative use of nanotechnology and biotechnology: resuscitated as a superhuman killing machine, Garrison is manipulated into killing any designated target at the company’s discretion. When his wiped memories begin to flow back into Garrison’s fractured mind, he starts to question who and what he has been turned into, and for what twisted agenda.
Bloodshot was originally set to be directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch of John Wick fame, starring Jared Leto. For reasons one could easily guess, all three parties dropped out and were replaced by first time feature film director, David Wilson, the creative director of Blur studios. If you’re a gamer, odds are you’ve seen some of their fancy visual effects work, such as trailers for the Batman: Arkham series of games, The Division, Star Wars: the Old Republic, Modern Warfare, Elder Scrolls Online, and production credits for the Netflix/David Fincher animated series, Love + Death + Robots. Funnily enough, Blur Studios was founded by another VFX worker turned big superhero studio director, Tim Miller. Suffice it to say. Sony seems confident in replicating the success that Miller had with Deadpool, and I’ve got to say, Bloodshot and their supposed five film deal are a big yes from me.
With a script from Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Lights Out, Bird Box) and Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare, Fantasy Island, Kick-Ass 2), Bloodshot aims for intelligent sci-fi disguised as a bombastic CGI action bonanza. To its primary credit, Wilson’s high end VFX video game graphics background truly benefit his directorial debut by infusing every one of its myriad action sequences with visual awe. When Bloodshot is “six-inches” deep into its action, it’s a damn delight. An argument for those who appreciate more style than substance can be made in regards to this action sci-fi ride. Those who know me are familiar with my love for Neill Blomkamp and his futuristic world building; what Wilson manages to craft with Bloodshot is inspired if not almost rivaling the same creative juices. It may be a comic book film, but it feels exactly like a video game film adaptation; think the likes of Deus Ex and that sweet sweet Cyberpunk 2077 announcement trailer. The film immediately made me think of what Assassin’s Creed could have been, as not only does Guy Pearce play a version of Tony Stark had he founded Abstergo Industries, but the plot-related diegetic VFX manipulation and programming fits right into the Animus: right down to the digitizing sound design.
While not as built up and utilized as I would have liked, the supporting cast consisting of the likes of Eiza González (From Dusk till Dawn series, Alita: Battle Angel), Sam Heughan (Outlander), and Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Warcraft), all make for a surprisingly fun time. They all play characters you’d definitely see within a cinematic cutscene of your game, fit with their own respective Advanced Warfare meets Deus Ex boss specialized armour and powers. I have yet to see Outlander, but let’s just say that Heughan’s deliberately annoying performance doesn’t do it any favors. On a more comedic stride, Kebbell puts in a hilarious Reservoir Dogs-esque maniacal dance sequence worthy of your ticket alone, while American comedian Lamorne Morris puts on an admirable British accent. I’ve been a fan of González, and despite her never having as much screen-time as her breakout role in the Dusk till Dawn television show, she’s actively been putting in nice little supporting roles that lean more towards cameos. She puts in a more grounded yet highly capable aspect to Vin’s expected macho man role, unsurprisingly similar to the dynamic he has with Michelle Rodríguez in the Fast & Furious familia. Don’t be surprised when González continues to appear in that vehicular universe. Mileage may vary greatly, but I’m always a big fan of a video game style film done properly, so I’m typically inclined to be on the positive side of judgment when a rare one sneaks in.
Bloodshot does begin wearing down after the one hour mark, where it begins to run out of creative fuels in favor of the far too predictable big takedown third act. Obviously, the trailer already shows enough for you to piece together the story, and I’d imagine even more so for those family with the source material. I would have appreciated more development from the antagonists, followed by a lengthier final boss fight sequence. On the plus side, there isn’t a big laser beam in the sky finale, nor a citywide collateral wreckage a la Man of Steel, but the CGI heavy close-quarters combat does bring up memories of Superman vs General Zod. But I’d say up and through the Budapest tunnel sequence, this film was a very entertaining overpowered one man killing machine playthrough. It may come off as condescending criticism, but I was rather fond of the video game type characters and all too familiar deceptive revenge plot. For my money’s worth, I had a very fun time, and I do sincerely hope that it at least does well enough to have a sequel.
B- Review 2020 arrival b- bird box bloodshot chad stahelski david fincher david leitch david wilson dawn of the planet of the apes deadpool eiza gonzalez eric heisserer fantasy island fast and furious from dusk till dawn guy pearce jared leto jeff wadlow john wick kick-ass 2 lamorne morris lights out man of steel michelle rodriguez neill blomkamp reservoir dogs rocknrolla sam heughan tim miller toby kebbell truth or dare vin diesel warcraft
Film Studies/History graduate, using my love and knowledge of the medium to pass as a critic. I’m typically known for longer write-ups, and my eclectic taste ranging from awards darlings, European filmé, indie spirits, cinematic universes, and most notably 80s cult films. Hope you’ve enjoyed your visit, and remember, watch whatever, whenever, with whomever.