Bloodshot

★★★

I suppose it’d be an act of Darwinism if I died as a result of going to see a Vin Diesel movie during a pandemic. I certainly don’t want bloodshits from having seen Bloodshot! Buying tickets to the movie was a bit of an ordeal as people kept selecting seats near me. I must have moved my reservation a handful of times. The process was almost like a Police song, “Don’t sit/Don’t sit so/Don’t sit so close to me.” I showed up right before the movie started as I wasn’t worried about missing trailers for movies that have been postponed or displayed incorrect release dates. Right before walking into the theater there was nobody seated beside me per the seating chart on AMC’s app. As the credits started rolling an older black lady sat one seat away from me. She exclaimed, “Oh, boy!” as she sat down. She then proceeded to remove some sort of antiseptic spray from her purse and sprayed her hands down. She then stood up, removed a tube of Clorox wipes from her purse, grabbed a wipe and began wiping the armrests, seat and back of her chair. She brought Ziploc bagged snacks and a water bottle for her refreshments. This, ladies and gentlemen, is moviegoing during a pandemic.

Now onto the movie itself … Diesel stars Ray Garrison (I don’t buy Diesel as a Ray nor a Garrison.) in this adaptation of the Valiant comic book. Garrison is a US Marine, who after successfully diffusing a hostage situation in Mombasa travels to Italy with his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley), for some R&R. It’s here that they’re kidnapped by Martin Axe (a scenery-chewing Toby Kebbell) and his goons. (Martin Axe? What? Was the name Jack Knife taken? ). Axe is plying Ray for intel concerning the Mombasa operation to which Ray isn’t privy. As a result Axe murders both Ray and Gina.

Ray is brought back to life by RST (Rising Spirit Tech), which is headed up by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce). Ray’s blood is replaced by nanites, which begs the question what are Ray’s piss, shit and cum comprised of? I’d venture to guess nanites as well? Science! It’s at RST that Ray meets other altered military personnel – KT (Eiza González of Baby Driver) has synthetic lungs, Jimmy Dalton (Outlander’s Sam Heughan – bringing mad Oscar Pistorious energy) has fabricated legs and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) has artificial camera-based eyesight. Along the way Ray runs into rival computer programmer Wilfred Wigans (American comedic actor Lamorne Morris affecting a pretty expert British accent), who has intentions that run counter to RST’s.

Bloodshot is entertaining enough for what it is. Would I recommend you see it in a theater if you could? Nah, not really … or only if you’re a hardcore Diesel completist. Diesel is Diesel in the picture … his lack of charisma is a form of charisma in and of itself. He sports a white tank top, but doesn’t down any Coronas.  It’s surprisingly graphic in its violence, sexuality and language for a PG-13 offering, which will surely be enticing for the 12-year-old boys for whom it was made. First-time director David S.F. Wilson acquits himself nicely with the action and there’s lots of cool tech on display – there are futuristic drones, motorbikes, guns and mech suits aplenty! Wilson made his bones founding visual effects house Blur Studio alongside Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller. Wilson doesn’t appear to have the directorial chops that Miller does, but he holds his own. It’s in the scripting that Bloodshot falls short. The movie was co-written by Jeff Wadlow, who co-wrote and directed Fantasy Island, which I reviewed about a month back. Bloodshot’s very entertaining in its opening and its conclusion, but it’s flabby and formless in the middle, which led my mind to wander a tad. It also doesn’t feel especially 2020 – I kinda winced at a Kobe Bryant reference and watching folks shake hands. Then again, the filmmakers had no idea of the events that were about to befall us during production. I’ll tell you this much – the biggest jolt I got watching Bloodshot came when some dude sneezed twice late in my screening.

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