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Vin Diesel Tries To Launch Another Franchise With The Middling Effort “Bloodshot”

At this point, it’s hard to imagine that any comic book properties haven’t been mined for film. However, we have a new one in Bloodshot, but it does seem rather unlikely to start up a new franchise for star Vin Diesel. While on paper, this flick must have seemed like a cool vehicle for him, it instead offers up nothing we haven’t seen before, along with a visual style where you can never see anything during the myriad action scenes. In short order, you become disengaged and frankly rather frustrated. Those who expect a sequel from this initial outing are likely to be very disappointed.

The movie is based on a comic book, as you might imagine. Ray Garrison (Diesel) is a soldier we watch get murdered early on, only to be brought back to life through nanotechnology by the RST corporation, led by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce). With his blood essentially replaced by nanotechnology he’s super strong and able to heal instantly. Essentially, he’s become an unstoppable killing machine, though one who can remember almost none of his past. Harting has fixed other former soldiers, including KT (Eiza González), but Ray is his biggest achievement yet. Haunted by the memories of his wife Gina (Talulah Riley), also killed moments before he was, Ray breaks out of RST to avenge her. However, nothing is quite as it seems, and he begins to question who exactly Harting is and what RST is up to. PG-13 level action ensues, as Ray goes up against many of his former RST friends, with the exception of KT, who lends a helping hand. Dave Wilson directs a screenplay by Eric Heisserer and Jeff Wadlow. Steve Jablonsky composed the score, while Jacques Jouffret handled the cinematography. Supporting players include Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Lamorne Morris, and more.

A generic story mixes here with inept action, resulting in something profoundly mediocre. Dave Wilson’s direction makes it impossible to follow any of the action sequences, with quick cutting and editing that’s sloppily handled. Obfuscating what Vin Diesel is doing was obviously necessary, but it prevents the repetitive sequences from being enjoyable, at all. Diesel doesn’t help the cause much, mumbling through a part that’s so empty that charisma was all that could elevate the role. It’s forgettable work that won’t have anyone heaping much praise on the actor.

Bloodshot has one supporting character (the one played by Lamorne Morris) having fun and embracing the fact that he’s in trash, but everyone else takes things way too seriously. Except, however, when writers Eric Heisserer and Jeff Wadlow throw in an out of nowhere sophomoric joke or two. Had they seemed less out of place, they would have potentially broken some tension. Instead, it’s just another choice here that doesn’t work and seems less creative than just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Here, very little ends up sticking.

This weekend, it’s possible that Vin Diesel’s fans will turn up for Bloodshot. Or, perhaps fans of the comic book character will support the picture. More likely, however, this dies a quiet death at the box office. Considering the mediocrity on display, that’s probably for the best. Diesel isn’t well served, the material is brought blandly to the screen, and even as just a basic action film, it largely fails. The small moments where Morris’ character blurts out something fun are what keeps this from being an out and out bad movie. No matter how you slice it, though, this is one to skip.

Bloodshot opens in theaters on Friday.

(Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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