This review contains mild spoilers for Bloodshot.
Dave Wilson’s Bloodshot isn’t bad, though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table either.
And that’s important because there’ve been a few stabs at creating a cinematic universe, and so far only Marvel Studios and New Line’s The Conjuring and it’s spinoffs have done so successfully (and in case anyone is wondering The Fast And The Furious movies are not a cinematic universe, just a successful series though it’s certainly moving in that direction with the addition of Hobbs & Shaw in 2019) and Bloodshot could have been the opening salvo in a cinematic universe based on a characters from Valiant Comics.
Though that’s unlikely because Bloodshot if I recall went directly to streaming and while Vin Diesel may be a big enough star in the context of a Fast And Furious movie, take him outside his comfort zone and he’s very hit and miss, never mind a viral epidemic.
Diesel is Ray Garrison, a soldier who when the movie opens is in some African city – Mombasa? – doing the one man soldier bit (which has been done better by Schwareznegger and Stallone).
But the movie throws viewers a curve when we learn that what we’re seeing is a simulation, and Garrison is being used as an assassin by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) the head of Rising Sun International (who’s a pretty decent guy, beyond a penchant for murder).
During the simulation we also learn that Garrison’s wife has been kidnapped by Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell, easily the best thing in the movie) and is eventually killed by Garrison.
The movie reveals that Dr. Emil Hartling has been using Ray Garrison in this fashion A LOT, which is really dumb because his blood is filled with nanomachines, which give him the ability to recover from traumatic injuries as well as enhanced strength, and likely cost millions – if not billions – of dollars to develop.
He could hire a whole bunch of really good assassins instead of risking what is likely a multi-billion dollar pet project every time he sends him out, but that would be another, more logical movie.
As I said, it’s not a bad though it doesn’t try particularly hard either and Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel, which is to say that he’s less an actor than a deep-voiced presence who glares his way through most scenes.
What’s noteworthy is that the FX is really good – the director, Dave Wilson, worked as a special effects supervisor for numerous video games – and rivals more expensive productions but it’s not enough to elevate the movie beyond being just watchable.