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March 18, 2020

Bloodshot (2020) --- “You Don't Need A Past To Have A Future”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), an elite soldier who is murdered alongside his wife (Talulah Riley), is brought back to life by nanotechnology that turns him into a superhuman biotech killing machine. When his memories flood back and he remembers who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife, he uses his newfound abilities to break out of the facility and get revenge. But he soon learns that there is more to the conspiracy than he thought and that not everything can be trusted. The true question is: Can he even trust himself? Directed by David Wilson, screenplay by Jeff Wadlow (Fantasy Island, True Memoirs of an International Assassin) and Eric Heisserer (Bird Box, Extinction), and based on the bestselling comic book by Valiant Comics, Bloodshot (2020) is the first installment in a superhero series set within a Valiant Comics cinematic universe. 
     Bloodshot is one of the flagship comics for Valiant Comics, an independent publisher with its own universe of heroes and villains for those tired of DC and Marvel, and despite being around for over 30 years, most of Valiant Comics’ characters and stories have yet to reach the same popularity as other comic book titans (Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, etc.) partially due to the fact that they have never received a film adaptation for one of their stories. Now this acts as both an advantage and a disadvantage to the film because since most people are not familiar with the story the filmmakers had a lot of wiggle room in terms of the story - even if it does sound like a mash-up of Terminator meets Iron Man meets RoboCop. The story is interesting in how it explores themes about enhanced human physiology and a person’s God-given free will. Can someone really be called a superhero when someone else is pulling their strings? Especially if it’s for their own selfish or malicious intent. There are scenes that help elevate the film beyond being just another mindless action film. For instance, there is a scene where it is suggested that the programmer who designed Ray’s memory sequence has seen way too many movies. However, the narrative tends to lack emotion and once the film lays all its cards on the table, the story starts to deflate. None of the characters have much emotional range so it makes it hard if someone is being friendly, unpleasant or just a straight-up jerk. Of course, the filmmakers try to combat this by throwing in some great action sequences and while they are incredible, they are also almost impossible to follow simply because everything happens way too quickly in such small spaces. 
     Meanwhile, CGI is possibly the most creative aspect of the film. The creativity that went into assembling Ray’s memory sequence was pretty neat, especially when they showed how they could adjust almost anything that they wanted. Almost like it was a video game still in beta testing. Additionally, the special effects help improve the action sequences by showcasing how the nanotechnology and other enhanced technology works.
     The cast performances were pretty good, although I believe that they could have been even better if the story allowed them to show the more emotional range that made it more difficult for the audience to figure out who was good and who was bad until necessary. Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious 9) is known for his deep rough voice, imposing physical presence, and possessing an emotional range that rarely goes too far in one direction. Here he does show some moments of vulnerability that are a little bit off-putting because the audience is not as invested in his character as they are with some of the other characters he has played. Nevertheless, he is still great for the role of Ray Garrison. The only issue that I had is that most of the dialogue is left to the supporting characters. Eiza González (Baby Driver) as K.T. and Guy Pearce (Mary Queen of Scots) as Dr. Harting is compelling and carries most of the film’s emotional depth which is lacking throughout. Lamorne Morris (New Girl) is wonderfully hilarious as hacker Wilfred Wigans and quite literally steals the show with his version of a British accent and comic relief. Now I am a huge fan of Sam Heughan because he plays Jamie Fraser on one of my all-time favorite shows, Outlander (Starz, Netflix). In the show, he plays an honorable guy who is unofficially called King of Men or a King among Men, so it was interesting here to see him portray someone who is the complete opposite. It was actually quite unsettling but also interesting because I got to see Heughan’s acting range. The rest of the cast do a good job with their skeleton characters.
     Overall, Bloodshot (2020) is entertaining and worth watching the film. While Bloodshot may not be a very well-known comic, the story is a mash-up of Terminator meets Iron Man meets RoboCop. The cast performances were good but could have been even better if they were given a more emotionally in-depth story. The action sequences are fast-paced and the visuals are interesting. All in all, if you were already intrigued by the premise and a dedicated fan of superhero films then I recommend that you check out this film at your earliest convenience.

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

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