Ignorance is bliss and your enjoyment of Bloodshot hinges on how little you know about the film before you watch it.
It is rare to see Vin Diesel outside of the Fast and Furious franchise so it is almost an event just to witness a fresh role from the actor. Despite the lack of speeding cars and Tyrese’s one-liners, Diesel is not ready to give up on the action genre which brings us to Bloodshot.
Bloodshot is a property of Valiant Comics that took 8 years to materialize on the big screen. Created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton in the early 1990s, Bloodshot has sold millions of copies and has seen a resurgence in the comic book industry over the last decade.
After being recognized as one of the titles in the 2010s, the time felt right for a live-action film but finding a lead actor proved difficult. Fortunately for Sony, the studio opted to go with Vin Diesel over Jared Leto for the role of a kick-ass action hero.
With a modest budget and a marquee star, Bloodshot has the opportunity to be a big hit in the early spring film season. However, critically the film’s reception hinges on how audiences know about the plot going into it.
Bloodshot stars Diesel as US soldier Ray Garrison, Ray was killed in an assassination that also took the life of his wife. Ray is brought back to life using nanotechnology by a team of scientists and given superhuman powers turning him into a human weapon. Ray is not only given a second chance at life but a shot at vengeance towards the madman who murdered him and the woman he loved. It is not until Ray tries to pick up the pieces of his past that he learns that the world he has been brought back to is not what it seems.
Bloodshot is an all-around solid action film. While it is based on a comic book property, it is hard to call this a superhero film that audiences are used to with Marvel or DC properties. Bloodshot displays some impressive visuals given the small budget of 42 million dollars, only 1/5 of the amount that studios like Disney produce. With the exception of one CGI heavy fight scene that gives flashbacks of Neo fighting an army of Agent Smith in The Matrix Reloaded. The action set pieces are well done in their execution as director David Wilson accomplishes more with less in an impressive way.
The premise has been done to death within the superhero genre, man loses family, man seeks revenge, man becomes a crimefighter, etc. Writer Jeff Wadlow does the unthinkable by delivering a simple and coherent story that is easy for audiences to follow. Wadlow, who is responsible for recent Blumhouse Production disasters Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island, seemed unable to write a script where characters talk like real humans. With the help of Eric Heisserer, known for his acclaimed writing of the 2016 film Arrival, they produce a vastly improved dialogue with better-defined characters.
The point of contention the film presents is with the big twist in the plot. If you have watched the trailer or have seen any advertisement for Bloodshot, then you are aware that the group that Ray works for has misled him about the events of his wife’s death. The movie makes no attempt to hide this twist from the audience and that is the film’s biggest flaw. Bloodshot does not allow audiences to be lost in the story before hooking them for the twist because they are well aware of how the film plays out before they sit down.
It takes 40 minutes (37% of the runtime) to get to the big revelation everyone knows is coming. By the time, Ray figures out what is actually going on, two-thirds of the film is over leading to a highly predictable finish. This oversight turns storytelling into filler as the movie never takes into account what the audience knows as it progresses. It is difficult to blame the writers for this but whoever was responsible for promotion did this film no favors.
Oversight aside, Bloodshot is the embodiment of a popcorn flick. A film that audiences can enjoy free of any pretentious lectures and shameless product placement.