In a recent interview, Vin Diesel mentioned that a Valiant comic book movie universe is currently in the works at Sony. I’m not sure if it’s vanity, confidence or just sh*t he has to say while on press tour specifically to garner hype for Bloodshot, but I just watched the movie and there’s absolutely no way on god’s (formerly) green earth that it’s getting a cinematic one-bedroom apartment, what more an entire universe. Bloodshot is a one-note and generic action flick that has much intrigue as a disposable teaspoon.
Bloodshot follows Ray Garrison, a fallen soldier who wakes up to find that his blood has been transfused with high tech nanomites that imbue him with super strength and the ability to regenerate like he’s goddamn Wolverine on steroids. It’s a decent idea for an origin story. The problem is, Ray Garrison as written by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer, does not work as a character.
Why do we root for Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s 2002 film? He’s us. A regular middle-class geek who wants to graduate high school and hopefully also make out with the girl of his dreams. When he’s suddenly forced to deal with larger than life problems, we understand his struggle and feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. Nolan’s Batman is definitely not us unless you’re as sexy as Christian Bale and live in a mansion and own half the city. But he has flaws. He’s vulnerable with a deeply tortured soul. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we spend time with Steve as a skinny kid with a big heart. Who can forget the scene where the superpowerless Rogers jumps on a grenade to protect his comrades? So, Watching him get rewarded with the strength of a Greek God is a rousing experience.
But in Bloodshot, Ray Garrison is already a super jacked dude with the sniping abilities of DC’s Deadshot, even before he gets his power. So watching him stare admiringly at his own muscles and use the wall as a punching bag is infinitely less rousing than witnessing say, a buffed-up Steve Rogers run really fast for the first time. It doesn’t help that Ray is played by Vin Diesel who just Vin Diesels his way through the movie.
Okay, forget the physical stuff. What about the psychological? Admittedly, the writers introduce an interesting idea. Are Rey’s memories real? Is he reliving the same day over and over again? We could’ve gotten a superhero movie with a twist of Groundhog Day. Unfortunately, the ideas remain only that: Ideas. The scenes play out with little thrill and intrigue but with plenty of exposition.
So, where does that leave us? Ahh, the most disappointing aspect of Bloodshot: the action. Once again, you can sort of see what the director had in his mind. It’s a dark tunnel. A truck carrying flour explodes turning the tunnel into white Christmas. Red lights pierce through the falling flour. BLOODSHOT walks through it in slow motion looking like his comic book counterpart, before ruthlessly tearing through his enemies one by one. But this idea is so poorly staged, directed and edited (by today’s standards) that it becomes impossible to comprehend anything beyond the slow-mo shots. The action is forgettable, just like the rest of the film.