After he and his wife are murdered, marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is resurrected by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine – Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he cannot recall anything from his former life. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility to get revenge, only to discover that there’s more to the conspiracy than he thought.
If you’ve seen the trailers for David S. F. Wilson’s directorial debut Bloodshot, you probably didn’t expect it to be more than a fun early Spring blockbuster with some fun or amusing action set pieces. When you boil it down, that’s really what all of Vin Diesel’s movies are like. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. I, for one, am perfectly fine with watching Diesel beat down a bunch of bad guys for close to two hours, and, if executed well, I’d be entertained by that.
Of course, it’s always better whenever you get a meaty story on top of those exciting action sequences. It’s one of the many reasons why the Mission: Impossible franchise is beloved by so many people. You come for the over-the-top insanely immersive action sequences, and, on top of that, you get a story that you genuinely care about. The Bourne series of films does the same exact thing.
But Bloodshot is no Bourne or Mission: Impossible. Both of those franchises have something in common – a sense of style and excitement. Unfortunately, Bloodshot doesn’t have that. It’s mainly an extremely boring, convoluted mess that takes far too long to be entertaining and is chalked full with expository and cringe-worthy dialogue. You know it’s going to be a gigantic bore when in the first ten minutes of the movie, there are two incredibly goofy sexual references. Especially in an action movie like this.
This is a decently short movie, with a running time of only one hundred and nine minutes. It’s not too short and it’s not too long either, but it certainly felt longer than it actually was, and that’s all because of the screenplay by Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare, Fantasy Island) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Bird Box). Adapted from the comic series of the same name published by Variant Comics, this film genuinely had the potential to be a sleeper comic book hit amongst the crowd of widely known cinematic universes such as the MCU and the DCEU. Unfortunately, despite attempts already being confirmed to have Bloodshot serve as the first entry in a cinematic universe, I just cannot see it working.
Its world is never explored that much to the point where it seems like it could potentially grow in later installments. But that’s not the biggest issue with the film. It’s the story. It takes about thirty minutes for our lead protagonist Ray Garrison to get the amazing superhuman powers that we saw in the promotional material. This wouldn’t have been so bad, had the movie been a relentlessly entertaining thrill-ride, but that’s not what it is. The first thirty minutes are quite boring to watch. It’s a long, drawn-out setup for the second act, and it was incredibly obvious right when he appeared, that one of the main villains in this story was going to be hugely annoying and painful to watch.
However, with all of that being said, once the second act kicks into gear, the entertainment value here picks up quite a bit. Sadly, it never rises above mediocrity though. Nothing about this movie is going to make people drop their mouths to the ground the way other action movies in the past few years did such as Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s fun to watch, sure. But it never feels grounded in reality and you never feel like there is anything at stake, either.
Because our hero is so invincible and doesn’t get damaged by virtually anything, it makes the action sequences that play out feel like a breeze to watch. There’s no sense of vitality to these humongous overblown action sequences because in the back of your head you know that more than likely, Ray is not going to be seriously hurt by anything. It’s fun and disposable to watch in the moment, but the filmmakers really should have given us a villain that was equally as powerful as Ray in order to create suspense and tension whenever he gets into some trouble with some of the characters.
Speaking of Ray, Diesel does a decent enough job in the movie, although his character definitely feels like every other character Diesel has played in the past. After all these years, I’m still waiting for him to star in a dramatic movie and showcase his acting chops on full display because I know that he has it in him. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t bad in this movie. Far from it. He can genuinely be remarkably intimidating whenever the film needs him to be and it was nice to see him actually put in a ton of effort for this role, but it feels too similar to his past work.
Ultimately, there isn’t much that this movie has to offer. Yes, there are tons of action sequences later on in the film and they were amusing and fun to watch, but there was just no sense of danger to anything that was going on. It’s a movie that I can see people watching and having a really fun time, but about two weeks after they watch it, they will probably forget that they ever saw it in the first place.
Although Bloodshot has some fun and entertaining action on display, its poorly paced story and incredibly weak villains make it an underwhelming dud.
Overall Grade: C-
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, some suggestive material and language
Directed by: David S. F. Wilson
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing
Release Date: March 13, 2020
Running Time: 109 minutes