The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - BLOODSHOT | The Movie Waffler

New to Prime Video - BLOODSHOT

New to Prime Video - BLOODSHOT
A dead soldier is brought back to life and duped into performing assassinations.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: David S. F. Wilson

Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Lamorne Morris, Talulah Riley

bloodshot poster

Bloodshot isn't adapted from one of Charles Bukowski's tales of alcoholism but rather, like most of today's Hollywood product, from a comic book. Essentially a modern riff on The Six Million Dollar Man, the character of Bloodshot is a dead soldier brought back to life and transformed into a super-soldier, boasting the strength of a thousand she-bears, instant cell tissue regeneration, and an ability to interface with technology rivalled only by your nerdy nephew Kevin.

Here he's played by Vin Diesel in a movie intended to kickstart a brand new cinematic universe based on the stable of superheroes from Valiant Comics, the Dr. Pepper to Marvel and DC's Coke and Pepsi.

bloodshot vin diesel

For its first half, Bloodshot plays like an innocent throwback to the action movies of the '90s, with hotshot marine Ray Garrison (Diesel) taking out a cadre of generic bearded baddies in a hostage rescue mission. Returning to his base, he hooks up with his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley, introduced in classic Michael Bay fashion as a mop of blond hair blowing in the wind). "This is what we're fighting for," Ray boasts to his mates before setting off to a scenic hotel on the Italian coast for some post-mission missionary positioning.

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Ray and Gina's reacquainting is cut short when they're taken prisoner by Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell), a psychotic terrorist who likes to dance to Talking Heads while interrogating Ray for info he isn't privy to. Realising Ray is useless to him, Axe kills both the marine and his girl, only for Ray to wake up in the high-tech facility of Rising Spirit Tech, who have only gone and brought him back from the dead. Ray has no memory of his death, or of Gina, but is haunted by brief flashbacks. RST head honcho Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) explains how he has turned Ray into a modern bionic man, and Ray adapts to his new abilities in a matter of minutes. When Talking Heads start playing on the radio, Ray suddenly recalls the details of his death, and sets off in search of Axe with bloody vengeance on his mind.

bloodshot vin diesel guy pearce

If the first half of Bloodshot plays out like a particularly clichéd and generic action movie, that's intentional. Turns out poor old Ray is being manipulated by Harting to assassinate the scientist's enemies through having false memories implanted in his brain. The "script" for these memories are penned by tech nerd Eric (Siddharth Dhananjay), who is ironically, exactly the sort of problematic Asian stereotype you might have found in an old action movie, but I guess it's a sign of how much progress Hollywood has made that Asian stereotypes are now portrayed by Asian actors.

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So essentially, Bloodshot is The Six Million Dollar Man by way of The Bourne Identity. This is an enticing prospect, but director David S. F. Wilson and writers Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer can't find anywhere interesting to take this concept. The fake old school action movie that plays in Ray's head is far more entertaining than the "real" one that takes over once Ray cottons on to how he's being duped into becoming an unwitting assassin.

bloodshot eiza gonzales

A limited performer, Diesel is far better suited to the tongue in cheek hijinks of Ray's false memories than the Jason Bourne-esque conspiracy thriller protagonist he's required to play in the film's second half. His lack of emotion renders some scenes unintentionally hilarious, none more so than a reunion with Gina, where he learns it's really been five years since he last saw her and she has since moved on and built a new family. You can see the veins in Diesel's forehead working overtime as he tries to process just how an actor might play this scene.

Ultimately, Bloodshot fails because it believes it's better than the sort of movies it's condescendingly dismissing as inferior. Personally, I'll take a brain dead action movie with nothing but entertainment on its mind over one that thinks it's above such fare yet doesn't have any idea how to execute its lofty postmodern notions.

Bloodshot is on Prime Video UK now.