Bloodshot – 2020

Director David S.F. Wilson
Screenplay Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer
Starring Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Lamorne Morris, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Talulah Riley

Bloodshot is an attempt to bring Columbia Pictures into a new Valiant Comic-based universe. This will be over before it starts, unfortunately. It’s not just because the film is bad. Somehow, another film from the same company, Harbinger, was picked up by Paramount pictures. This is irrelevant to the task at hand, though. Bloodshot is being outpaced by an independent Christian film I Still Believe. Partly because Coronavirus has laid waste to all but the most hearty filmgoers.

It’s also pretty much due to the fact that the film has a very limited appeal. Outside of the inexplicable Fast and Furious franchise, or perhaps because of it, Vin Diesel doesn’t carry a film. He’s short, stiff and he has a limited range. It’s not that he’s unlikeable. He’s just not very good at acting. He’s truly got, in terms of Dennis Miller, “the range of a daisy air rifle.”

The story is actually a pretty good one. Diesel’s Ray Garrison starts out the film as one thing, finds out he’s become quite another. And then, somewhat cleverly, the rug is pulled out from him, revealing an even more fractured existence.

If the film had a decent director working to frame some clever action scenes, there might be more to it all. Sadly, each of the scenes are either muted in an unremarkable red tint, or they’re jarred to the point of weariness. There are few, if any, moments that stand out for reasons other than humor, intentional or not.

Even sadder, the film wastes the talents of Pearce and Kebbell. Pearce cut off most of his personality to give us a cliff notes version of his Iron Man 3 character, Aldrich Killian. Kebbell is relegated to just a bit part as the first guy on Bloodshot’s kill list. Just once, I would like to be surprised at how much better Kebbell is used in a film than expected. Invariably, this is the most amazing waste of his talent, yet.

Diesel. Good Lord. What can be said about him that has not already been beaten to death? He’s a bag of meat. I want to like the guy, but he doesn’t have any qualities that make me want to keep watching. No matter what they do with him in this film, the moment he’s given any rein to do something beyond Hulk-smash, the mind wanders. González seems bored even sharing a scene with him. She has about ten times the screen time here as she did in Baby Driver, but she makes 1/10th the impression.

One thing that brings this film out of the gutter is Morris, who is incredibly fun as high tech wunderkind, Wilfred Wigans. He’s easily the best thing about the film, and its as surprising as anything to discover that he isn’t British. The accent is spot on.

See this movie on video if you want dumb action on a Sunday afternoon. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get away from the crowds for an hour, it’s a sure bet to see in the theater this weekend.

(*1/2 out of *****)

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