Director: Dave Wilson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Guy Pearce
Bloodshot, a big-budget adaptation of the cult Valiant comic book character and Vin Diesel’s hope for a super heroic mainstream Hollywood multi-sequel franchise future, does him more harm than good. The star’s bio-mechanically resurrected super soldier on the loose take is way too caricatured, common and generic to be worthy of being optioned as a cinematic legend.
The clinically dead Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) re-awakens in Dr Emil Harting’s (Guy Pearce) RST industrial facility and realises that he has been bio-mechanised into a killer machine. Harting’s nanotechnology bloodstream injections (called nanites) aid in keeping him fighting fit and within Harting’s control. But Harting doesn’t reckon for Garrison’s memory return and everything goes out of control.
There’s a lot of talk of coding and satellite aided shut-down controls that function intermittently. RST has other enhanced wounded warriors like Navy survivor KT (Eiza González) and the legless Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan) basically reconfigured to do Harting’s bidding. Guy Pearce’s Harting is meant to organically emerge as the chief villain but neither the writing nor the performance makes it impressive enough to fuel affect.
The intended comedy gags fall flat as Diesel’s deadpan expressionism makes it all look clinical and generic. Diesel’s earthy charisma and bruising build fit the Ray Garrison template but his lack of acting skills subverts the very effect that is desired for a successful superhero franchise. And that comes in a package riddled by sloppy, indistinctive VFX and CGI, confused mostly implausible science, bludgeoning indistinct action choreography and overall performances that tend to be silly rather than meaningful or grounded. Wilfred Wigans, take-out Chinese food addict and genius freelance programmer with a sarcastic British wit positioned against his RST leading tech counterpart Eric (Siddharth Dhananjay) fails to raise the competitive pitch here either. Director Dave Wilson, a former visual effects artist, fails to show off his stuff. The slo-mo cinematography and shots of Ray’s flesh being shredded, only to regenerate instantly, look simulated, far too artificial for this superhero origin saga to come good.