Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Bloodshot ★★★☆☆


Back in the day, Vin Diesel seemed like he’d be a bigger star than the Rock. XXX was a fun deconstruction of the spy genre, while The Fast and the Furious was actually decent before it descended into madness during the sequels. Riddick will always be an interesting character, so it’s not as though he hasn’t been successful in his own right. I only say that because I was reminded of the former WWE star at the start of Bloodshot, as it’s a typical action intro, in that it was stylish but boring. The bald, squat hero has been done enough in recent years, although the film began to improve rapidly as time went on.


Bloodshot reminds me of so many famous movies we’ve all seen before. There’s a bit of Robocop, mixed with a dash of John Wick and a drizzle of The Terminator. It stars Xander Cage (probably) as a one-man army at the beginning, confident enough to ignore orders from overwatch as he goes about saving hostages effortlessly in an unnamed warzone. His wife gets murdered, and he gets a bullet in his head for his troubles, leading to experimental augmentations that bring him back with the strength of an Avenger. He joins a team of fellow disabled veterans, each of which has an augmented power or two of their own. Guy Pearce leads the bunch, as a mad scientist who managed to perfect the tech that brought Bloodshot back to life in the first place, while Eiza González stars as a former diver who takes pity on the leading man. 

The CGI is top quality for the most part. There’s Bloodshot’s facial reconstruction as he endures a ridiculous amount of damage thanks to Wolverine-style healing powers or a chaotic scene where he gets revenge on the man who killed his wife by blowing open a reinforced car window with a grenade attached to a soldier’s chest. The film features stunning locations set around the globe, as well as action sequences that make sure to utilise the super-strengths of the main character. However, the final battle takes it a step too far on the graphics front and ends up looking more like Neo fighting the Agents in Matrix: Reloaded at points.

An interesting plot begins to fizzle out towards the midway point, picking up again as he inevitably turns against the organisation that’s been using him as a killer for hire. The truth is, I’d much prefer another Riddick film, but Bloodshot is a decent action-thriller alternative. Vin Diesel isn’t showing his age by any means, and he's a good choice to front yet another superhero ensemble, which is why the inevitable sequel hook didn’t leave such a bad taste in my mouth. The film is big enough to point out the numerous tropes it invokes, while it takes a philosophical slant in terms of free will, and the future of combat and nanotechnology.


They're both big and bald, but there’s a clear difference between Vin Diesel and his big-budget rival. The latter might star in more box office capers, but the Bloodshot star is capable of a more subtle performance, from his soothing tone to his ability to convey emotions. He carries the film for long periods, but it’s still not enough to leave me clamouring for a sequel anytime soon.

★★★☆☆
James Millin-Ashmore



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