Superhero cinema offers a fascinating landscape of characters and worlds to explore. As the genre has changed over the decades, we’ve been treated to dynamic visions that moved the needle forward in what we can expect from comic book movies. Whether it’s visual experiments like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, tonal curveballs like Joker, mature character pieces like Logan, or irreverent spoofs like Deadpool, the diversity of this outlet has proven that the genre doesn’t need to remain in the past. Bloodshot does just that by feeling like a movie you’ve seen before. That’s because you have.
The premise of Bloodshot owes more than a little to Universal Solider, RoboCop, and Memento. But, there is nothing inherently wrong with a story being derivative. What matters is that the story needs to populate itself with elements that feel fresh and engaging. That can include new twists to the plot, intriguing characters, or invigorating filmmaking choices.
Bloodshot has none of those.
To be fair, the cast is doing their best with a paint-by-numbers script, but there is only so much electricity you can jolt into this dead frog of a movie. Vin Diesel gets a lot of flak for being a flavorless meathead as an actor and that’s not fair. He’s only that way when he gets plugged into a character with baseline personality traits.
Bloodshot offers up a protagonist that might as well be called Action Hero™. Ray Garrison has the emotional complexity of a Bowflex workout machine. He’s every revenge-fueled super-bro muscle machine that you’ve ever seen. Diesel never has an opportunity to inject anything unique into the character.
Even actors who could juice up their parts don’t. Guy Pearce is a cute bit of meta-aware casting, but he never justifies his role as Dr. Emil Harting. There is no flair or individuality to his character or casting. Pearce can deliver a memorable performance in movies that don’t deserve him, but he’s on auto-pilot in every scene.
The only actor that comes out looking decent is Lamorne Morris as goofball techie Wilfred Wigans. His motormouth schtick wears thin pretty quick, but at least it’s something that stands out as far as the ensemble is concerned.
The experience would be vastly improved if Bloodshot could deliver on some good action. Sadly, that’s not the case. Director Dave Wilson showed great promise with his episode “Sonnie’s Edge” from Love, Death & Robots. It was exciting to see how he’d make the transition to live-action. Unfortunately, his instincts as a visual effects professional leave Bloodshot feeling like a video game cutscene from ten years ago. Tricks like speed ramping and chaotic editing make the action come across as weightless. Add to that a PG-13 mandate that takes away from some of the violence’s impact and that empty video game feel continues to overshadow all of the action.
When the CGI particles finally settle, Bloodshot is on par with the blandest of direct-to-video action fare. I say that as someone who has deeply enjoyed DTV action flicks like Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear and Universal Soldier: Regeneration. Those films took small budgets and let their creativity elevate the experience. With a reported budget of $45 million, Bloodshot didn’t spend its money where it mattered: the script.
Full of tired clichés, cardboard characters, and a lack of filmmaking panache, Bloodshot never delivers anything that makes it stand out from the crowd. And with superhero cinema only becoming more ambitious and experimental, Bloodshot simply fades away from memory even before the movie is over.
Bloodshot Review Score
Not convinced by our Bloodshot review? Vin Diesel has made the first nine-minutes of Bloodshot available for free online. Watch it below and review it for yourself…
Review The First Nine Minutes Of Bloodshot
Bloodshot is available to watch in full now Here On Amazon Video.