Bloodshot: The Movie Review
By Hervé St-Louis
May 23, 2020 - 11:00
Studios: Columbia Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Bona Film Group, Original Film, One Race Films, Valiant Entertainment
Writer(s): Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer
Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce
Directed by: David S. F. Wilson
Produced by: Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe, Dinesh Shamdasani, Vin Diesel
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Rating: PG13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing
This version of the film focuses on the 2012 revival by Valiant Entertainment and not the original comic from 1992. In the 1992 version of the comic, Bloodshot was formerly mob hitman Angelo Mortalli. Unable to see this film in theatres because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I waited eagerly to be able to obtain the Blu-ray release when stores were finally open in my area. Bloodshot’s theatrical release was one of the major victims of the worldwide lockdown.
I must admit that I was bored with the slow first act of the film when Bloodshot is revived and tours the base and his mates. I stopped the film midway to go browse the web instead. This was not a great start. The setup of the film shows us a linear story until the twist finally happens and Bloodshot decides to get even with his real opponents. The problem is that the same mindless focus on revenge that let Bloodshot to kill many targets is the same one that makes him confront his real enemy. Thus, the character has not really evolved at the end of the movie though some of the shackles appear to have superficially disappeared.
There is little emotional connection with Vin Diesel’s love for his wife as she appears in a few linear scenes where we see her have sex with him before being killed. At this point, the director is not even trying. He throws the classic trope of the murdered wife and tells us that for Bloodshot’s handlers and himself, that is all that is needed to get him to kill. The issue with this simple characterization is that Bloodshot does have genuine feelings for his wife later but it feels forced.
At this point, I have to mention that the main problem with Bloodshot is Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel plays Vin Diesel. There is no range and no nuances. He is exactly the brute that Bloodshot’s handlers say the fictional character is. I understand that Vin Diesel brings credibility and star power to Bloodshot but at what cost? A better actor probably could have gotten more from this one-dimensional character. Here, Vin Diesel reduces Bloodshot to a joke.
Even the characters he was originally modelled on, Marvel’s Punisher, was more than a crazy wacko with a good handle on weapons. Actor Jon Bernthal who plays the Punisher for Marvel shows that a character like Bloodshot can be very complex in live-action adaptations. However, when the actor or the plots used for the story are poor, we get all of the other failed Punisher adaptations that we have had since 1989.
Bloodshot falls in the group of poor comic book adaptions that rank below the worse from the current DC cinematic universe. Will’s Smith’s Deadshot in the Suicide Squad was much better than Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot. Even Harley Quinn was a better movie.
Opportunities were clearly missed here. There was no mention of the rest of the Valiant universe. Valiant likes to claim that its comic book universe is the third largest one after DC and Marvel Comics’. However, I was hoping for an end credit scene like the infamous one in Iron Man where Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury appears. Nothing. No Geomancer, no Eternal Warrior, no Ninjak, no X-O Manowar, and no Toyo Harada. While Valiant claims that it wants to create a cinematic universe, it did not set up the field in its first foray. This is weird as this is a direct negation of the recent Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe where the continuity and various characters of the Valiant were put forward. In understand that rights issues may have had a role in this but at least a nod that Bloodshot is part of a shared universe with other great characters would have been fabulous.
The visual effects were good except for the elevator fight which looked like a bunch of 3D characters playing in a video game. The Blu-ray shows the alternate ending in a swimming pool. I would have combined the two versions. The pool was an important element in the first act. I understand that the studio, as explained in the Blu-ray extras, wanted to have a bigger fight but director Dave Wilson who hails from the gaming production world was unable to convince. A more experienced director might have been able to stand his ground with the studio.
One of the major issues that I had with Bloodshot was the sound score. Something was off. It did not feel cinematic. The sound design throughout this film was weak. I am at loss for words on what was wrong but the quality sound score that expect from movies and high-level productions such as Westworld or Daredevil was missing.
Having been one of those guys who bought the original chromed covered Bloodshot #1, while not being a fan of the character, I always enjoy a good comic book movie. This one deserves to have been metaphorically, a direct to video release.
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