Movie Reivew - Bloodshot
Updated: Apr 16, 2022
I hate vanity projects.
Okay, that’s not ENTIRELY true…but I hate the concept of them: a movie star so vain that he has to make a movie for the sole purpose to show off how awesome he is. As to whether or not they’re worthy of hate, well, that ends up depending on how you feel about the celebrity. Having watched the Riddick films, The Last Witch Hunter and now Bloodshot, I have a message for Vin Diesel.
Sit down and shut the fuck up already. And most importantly, get over yourself.
The fact that Bloodshot amounts to nothing more than a Vin Diesel vanity project is a crying shame, because in a world where fandoms have become increasingly toxic and combative, the cinematic marketplace really needs a little Valiant to break up the DC vs Marvel feuding. Valiant has had a rich universe of characters and events, whether it was during the speculator boom of the 90’s or since its reboot in the 2010’s, to see it boiled down to a simple action movie with sci-fi elements all to highlight an action star that, if this film is any indication, is getting pretty close to the point that he’s gonna need to shift gears into something else, well, it’s just all a little nauseating. But before I really lay into this sucker, let’s get to that synopsis:
Ray Garrison was an elite soldier gunned down in battle. Thanks to nanotechnology from Rising Spirit Technologies, Ray is given a second chance at life, and revenge, being sent after those responsible for killing him. But not everything, nor everyone, is as they seem, and the gift of nanites turns into a curse as Ray finds out he’s nothing more than a living weapon with a reset button. Can he piece together what’s real and who his real target is before his mind is wiped yet again?
Sigh…I mean, just writing that synopsis…it’s all a little trite, isn’t it? Dude finds out who he was, starts piecing together how he’s been betrayed and turns on his masters, eventually shooting his way to independence with a promise to help others. When it’s done right, you can get something classic like Robocop. When it’s done poorly, you get something like Spawn. Sadly, Bloodshot leans way more toward the latter than the former. I’d almost say that the only thing separating this from Spawn is that not EVERYONE in the film wants to get into Ray’s ex-wife’s knickers. A mild improvement at best.
Continuing in the cookie-cutter nature of the film, Vin Diesel plays Vin Diesel, Sam Heughan and Toby Kebbel play roles that pretty much boil down to Asshole #1 and Asshole #2 (the bad guys looking forward to killing Ray for realsies) and Eiza Gonzales plays the one baddie that eventually grows a conscience and switches sides to the good guys. I mean, it’s all serviceable, but utterly unremarkable.
Ultimately though, the huge failing of this film is that if this was to kick off a Valiant Cinematic Universe, whoa boy, did it fail. While it’s not fair to do so, compare this to Iron Man…after all, the stories tread similar beats. By the end of Iron Man, we were excited to see what’s next: We get Nick Fury telling us we’re part of a larger Universe. The end of Bloodshot? Nope, we just ride off into the sunset. Look, Marvel, at least during their Infinity Saga, ran a smart playbook: always give the audience a taste of what’s next. Of course, that’s not to say steal what they did and start inserting stingers throughout the credits, but dammit man, give us a reason to care about the Valiant Universe that we as audience members SHOULD be looking forward to getting to know! The home video release even compounds this issue with a distinct lack of special features to give us some history of the character (he’s been around since the 90’s and I’m pretty goddamn sure that no one outside of your deep-diving comic book nerd even knows who he might be) and the universe to inhabit. Give us SOME reason to care! Tragically, that’s not to be found here.
One last mini-rant: like any vanity project, Vin himself is one of the producers on the film. Combine these two things and we get a hero that sure, has to overcome some plot contrivances…but is there any REAL challenge for him here? Any instance where the hero is laid low and is forced to pull himself up, remake himself on some level and then finally face and triumph over these overwhelming odds? Not in this movie and as such, as much as the Blu-Ray packaging touts Bloodshot as a superhero, well, sorry…I just don’t see it. It’s just Vin Diesel – Super Badass…and if I’m honest, I’m neither impressed or interested.
Look, your mileage with Bloodshot is really gonna depend on how you feel about Vin Diesel: if you’re a fan, nothing I’ve said is going to change your mind, you’re gonna love it. If you don’t though, and after all the Fast & Furious movies and the drama on and off screen surrounding those I certainly think it’s time for him to ride off into the sunset and yammer on about “Family” someplace else, your sentiments might echo my own. I’d almost be content to give this a Plain Cat rating…but the fact that this film utterly squandered any attempt to kickstart a Cinematic Universe just so some aging action star can keep playing badass? That’s unforgivable and unfortunately earns Bloodshot an Angry Cat rating.