Sony will soon be debuting Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot to the world. A film adaptation based on one of Valiant Comics’ most popular characters. That being said, most non-comic-book-aficionados have never even heard of the name Bloodshot. Chances are you probably just saw the trailer of a whited out cyborg Vin Diesel going around killing people and thought to yourself “That’s cool but what the hell is going on?!”. Well, have no fear folks because we’re here to give you the breakdown on everything you need to know before going into Bloodshot. And believe me, when I say, there’s a lot to cover. Far from simply being another filler action flick before the blockbuster season hits into high gear, Bloodshot is part of a major studio effort aiming to change the game in the field of comic book films.
Depending on Bloodshot’s critical and commercial success, Sony may have just introduced a whole new competitor to Warner Bros’ DC franchise and Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
History and Abilities
Over the years there’s been some small alterations made to Bloodshot’s origin story. In the earlier version of the comics, he was a mobster called Angelo Mortalli who was kidnapped and forced to be a test subject for Project Rising Spirit, a program that enhanced Angelo’s body and durability with nanobot technology. The new Bloodshot film, however, is more in line with Valiant’s 2012 version of the character with a former soldier named Ray Garrison being enlisted into Project Rising Spirit. We’ll be focusing mainly on Ray Garrison’s Bloodshot for the sake of catching you up to the film. Right, so the first thing you need to understand about Bloodshot is the ambiguity of his backstory.
In the comics, there were many test subjects for Project Rising Spirit who were eventually driven insane by the mental toll the procedure took on them. So in an effort to mitigate these effects, the US Government used nanites to manipulate the memories of soldiers like Ray so that they would be more functional and obedient to their will. Up to this date, little is officially known about Garrison’s origins. Sometimes he remembers his life as a prison convict, other times he’s a trained soldier who goes through a rather Punisheresque transformation from family man to killing machine. The idea of non-reliable character histories isn’t a completely original concept seeing that we’ve seen this with Alan Moore’s Joker in The Killing Joker. Still, at the very least, it does make for an interesting premise.
Based on the trailer we’ve seen, it seems that this whole memory-alteration procedure plays a big part in the character of Bloodshot. The synopsis provided by Sony Pictures seems to imply that Bloodshot has a somewhat more standard origin story with someone killing his wife and family and him tracking down the killer. Truthfully, I hope the film doesn’t settle for this cookie cutter revenge plot and plays around with the ambiguity of Ray’s memories. Perhaps, he never even had a family to begin with.
As for Bloodshot’s actual powers and abilities, the best way I can describe the guy is he’s the cyborg baby child of Frank Castle and Wolverine. He is proficient with a multitude of firearms, a brutal expert at hand-to-hand combat and a master of various armed fighting styles. The nanites injected into his body grants him super strength, speed and a nigh-invulnerable healing factor not unlike that of Wolverine’s. As the trailer implies, you could blow his face off and he’d grow it right back. The nanotechnology in his body also augments his reflexes, serves as his own personal in-built computer and enables him to change his appearance to blend into his surroundings. Essentially, Bloodshot is a one-man army.
A Valiant Effort
As some of you may have suspected, Bloodshot is merely Sony’s first step in establishing a franchise based on character from Valiant Comics. The Valiant Cinematic Universe (VCU) is on its way! Beyond Bloodshot, Sony is also planning on creating films based on Valiant’s Harbinger comics. Harbinger follows a group of super-powered individuals led by Earth’s most powerful telepath, Toyo Harada. Together, they form the Harbinger Foundation. Sounds familiar right? The only thing Toyo is missing is a wheelchair and a bald, shiny head. In spite of the similarities though, Harada is no Charles Xavier. He is a man resolved in his vision of creating a better world at the expense of his own personal morality. One thing to note is that this theme of grey morality permeates the entirety of Valiant’s line of comic titles and characters.
There is the Visigoth barbarian from 375 A.D. called Aric of Darcia, or X-O Manowar, who is bound to an alien armour and is hellbent on conquering Europe. An English mercenary and assassin who goes by the name Ninjak. Then, there’s also Livewire, a rogue technomancer with the ability to control computers and machines with her mind. There are no true blue heroes, only damaged anti-heroes who occasionally save the world. Sometimes, they even team up to form Unity, a group of superpowered individuals dedicated to stopping major global threats. It just so happens that both Bloodshot and Harbinger’s Toyo Harada have been members of Unity.
Personally, I think Bloodshot is laying down the groundwork for a future Unity film featuring characters from various films in the VCU. The age of the Avengers has come to a close with 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Since the failure that was 2017’s Justice League, Warner Bros has been reorientating their films to be more individualistic and character-driven. The field is wide open for a new contender to step into the ring and I, for one, am excited to see what the VCU has to offer.
There is, of course, the possibility of Bloodshot bombing at the box office and being poorly received by audience members and critics. If it doesn’t, then Disney and Warner Bros better watch their backs because the VCU is coming for the throne. We’ll know soon enough come on the 12th of March when Bloodshot hits Malaysian theatres. Fingers crossed, it’ll be a gamechanger.