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‘…arrives on the big screen looking distinctly like a re-heated dinner…’

Vin Diesel is, if nothing else, something of a home-run when it comes to being a self-publicist. Whether he’s hitting the stump for such misbegotten fare as The Last Witch Hunter, his own stuttering Riddick franchise, or CGI actioneers like Babylon AD, Diesel always goes to bat for his project, cheerfully predicting success, sequels and franchises, and never seeming embarrassed if the film turns out to be a dud.

Bloodshot is supposedly the first in a franchise based on, checks notes, the Valiant comic cinematic universe? It’s had various personnel changes over a decade of development hell, but arrives on the big screen looking distinctly like a re-heated dinner. Diesel plays Marine Ray Garrison, murdered before the opening titles begin. He becomes some kind of genetically modified super-soldier via some kind of nanotechnology, and is known as Bloodshot, although he doesn’t seem to have much of a super-hero costume beyond an illuminated panel on his T-shirt.

Garrison is keen for revenge on whoever is responsible for his own death and that of his wife, so he cracks on with getting in the faces of various baddies, including a manic Toby Kebbell as Martin Axe, housewives’ choice Sam Heughan as Jimmy Dalton, and yes, Guy Pearce as Dr Emil Harting. ‘You’ve already ripped off every movie cliché there is…a dancing lunatic playing Psycho Killer in a slaughterhouse,’ is a particularly self-effacing line here, but self-awareness only counts for so much when you’re simply describing the clichés in your own film. A better sample line would be Diesel’s ‘They filled my head with nightmares and sent me on a suicide mission,’ which generally captures the dour, indoor nature of most of David S.F. Wilson’s movie. The elevated finale, with Diesel testing his indestructability in and around a moving lift on a skyscraper, is pretty good, and there’s a couple of brief but welcome bursts of action to lighten the gloom.

But a franchise? A film really needs to be something of a game-changer to support more than a sequel or two, and despite good moments and a game cast, there’s not enough going on in Bloodshot to merit a few more trips to the well. Diesel has a track record with failing to expand his XXX and Riddick franchises without much success; despite a good supporting cast and some passable effects, Bloodshot feels like just another addition to his growing pile of busted pilots.


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  1. Bloodshot has the (dis)honor of being the last movie I saw in theaters before the shutdown. It wasn’t worth it. The main problem I felt was how little it had to do with the comic. Vin Diesel is once again just playing himself. Even though Bloodshot is supposed to have a black flat top and chalk white skin. Making it PG-13 was another mistake since it is a very R rated comic. I’m no expert on Valiant comics, but 2020 was not the year to play fast and loose with comic adaptations. On the surface it’s just a run of the mill failed action movie.

    • I couldn’t imagine how this could have been a comic, it’s a deadly straight revenge action movie. And yes, this came out right as the pandemic started and reflected a pretty bleak time.

  2. Valiant comics was an independent company in the 90s trying to carve out a niche where marvel and DC hadn’t. Nothing ever drew me in so beyond their name, I know none of their comics.
    So it sounds perfect for Vin diesel, hahaha!

      • Glad they at least worked for you.
        I doubt I’ll ever watch this, not because I have something against it, but because I’ve had little luck with Diesel. Fast and Furious One was only “ok”. Triple X was a complete bust and I could only start the Riddick one, Gave up pretty quick.

        • Well, you’ve had the best of Vin, so I wouldn’t suggest going any further. He’s a character, for sure, but I can’t see him getting out of his lane. He’s an action star, he generates his own vehicles, but while the bed gets get bigger, the projects somehow seem smaller. He needs to take done kind of risk, it’s getting stale.

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