Starring Vin Diesel, Guy Pearce, Eiza González, Sam Heughan
Directed by Dave Wilson
Bloodshot is a superhero movie based on a comic book by Valiant Comics. But you can't really tell that this is actually a superhero flick, supposedly the first of a series, because it seems just like another generic sci-fi action film with a very pissed off dude.
What you won't be able to resist however — besides seeing how much this pic loves featuring Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers as some kind of imposing, sinister site here — is counting how many movies you're watching at one, no pun intended, shot.
Okay, here we go.
The main man, Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), is a dead soldier who's brought back to life and turned into an unstoppable killing machine. Just like what was done to Jean-Claude Van Damme way back in Universal Soldier.
He has his memory wiped out to be replaced by newly configured ones stuffed into his mind. Looks totally like Arnold Schwarzenegger's head being messed about in Total Recall.
Problem is, Garrison keeps getting glimpses of his past life, particularly very sweet soft-focus moments with his dead loving wife, Gina (Westworld's Talulah Riley). Exactly what happened to the man turned into a machine in 1987's Robocop.
There's a villain — a really mean ex-soldier with metal legs like that Blade Runner sprinter in the Olympic Games — played by Outlander’s Sam Heughan who straps on a tech backpack to fight with long robotic arms, ala Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2.
And here's the clincher — Vin Diesel looks like he's just stepped out of a Fast & Furious flick to do this actioner before he goes back to make another F & Finstalment. Here he growls in his deep bass voice — “I will find you and I will end you”. Which, with a little less menace and a little more twinkle, sounds just like those “I don't have friends, I got family” lines of wisdom he loves to spout in his F & F franchise.
Is it just me or does he look a little puppy-dog lonely without his car-racing pals whenever he's on his own? I mean, the man seems to act the same in whatever show he's in, right? Doesn't make a difference if he's standing right next to Donald Trump or Donald Duck. Oh, sorry, hang on. Bad example. Maybe there isn't any difference between those two. My bad.
Anyway, plot-wise, Diesel's unsmiling super assassin is rebooted back to life via an infusion of tiny bits of nano technology called nanites, shown here as inky CGI stuff you can store in a cup. They're not merely in his blood; they are his actual blood now as someone reveals to him in a revolutionary manner. It's revolutionary only if you haven't seen Iron Man show off this exact same tech crap in Avengers: Infinity War.
Garrison, aka Bloodshot, is put back together by scientist Dr Emil Harting whom you know is iffy straight off despite a benevolent first impression. Are we geniuses too? Nope. Because he's played by Guy Pearce who excels in “evil scientist” roles, looks “big corporation” dubious and leads a bunch of geek freaks who keep punching shady keyboards to rewire Garrison in a highly conspiratorial, nothing-is-as-it-seems way.
Before he was terminated the first time, Mr Born Again saw his wife killed by a dancing — I kid you not — terrorist (Toby Kebbell). Now that he's been reanimated with super strength and rejuvenation powers that'd make even Wolverine jealous, Garrison, of course, takes off on an unauthorised revenge mission like a raging bulldozer on steroids to settle scores, wreak mayhem and end entire populations of baddies, Vin Diesel-style.
Man, this fella massacres people not as a blood sport but as poetic ballet. Including using some poor sap's body as a bomb to blow up a car door. “I always come home,” he intones as a badge of honour and responsibility to the kind folks who have brought him back to life. A promise which, as the proceedings unveil, carries a deadly double meaning. Let's just say that the big lug's loyalty to his newfound friends isn't exactly reciprocated in kind.
At which point as things churn on in a completely predictable fashion, we are distracted by two things. One: What is the fetish this movie seems to have with the skyline of KL? Do those twin protuberances turn its location crew on? Two: Who is Dr Evil's hench-babe named KT who befriends Garrison here? She's Mexican actress Eiza Gonzalez (Hobbs & Shaw) who's Bond-girl smokin' hot which is a very apt term here because she too has been tech-transformed to be immune to any form of smoke, gas, fog and, I guess, coronavirus droplets.
Here's the deal with Bloodshot. This film, directed by visual effects guy Dave Wilson, isn't bad. Certainly not as bad as another recent pseudo-futuristic, high-concept thingy like Will Smith's Gemini Man. Compared to that, this one is at least brisk and trim and has the chops to wow us with a checklist of pretty good action sequences. Its requisite vehicular chase scene involving Bloodshot, blade runner and some blind dude who uses drones to see everything is quite exciting.
But it's thrilling mostly if you've been living in a cave for the last 20 years because this feels as dated as Vin Diesel's biceps since, for much of the show, it's basically Rehash Central. I thought that about three decades ago, some very creative people from Marvel broke away to form Valiant to do something edgier, quirkier, more subversive and primarily different.
Doesn't seem like it here. (**1/2)
Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment