Editor’s Note: Movie theaters in Minnesota were closed by government order on March 17, though some distributors will be releasing their newer movies to streaming services in the near future.
In a world where superhero movies often seem like an exercise in printing money, it was perhaps inevitable that Hollywood would come calling for Bloodshot, small publisher Valiant Comics’ most popular character — though not necessarily its most interesting. Just because something is inevitable, however, does not mean we should welcome it, and I would recommend not welcoming “Bloodshot” into your heart or wallet. Seeing it was one of the last things I did before Minnesota’s coronavirus social distancing recommendations really kicked into high gear, and I did have the fleeting thought that I hoped not to perish before I saw another, better movie in theaters.
Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a special ops soldier of some distinction or another (the movie does not care to impress the specificities of his work onto the audience, one of many things it does not care to do). Garrison has just completed a mission when he is kidnapped and murdered, but not before watching his kidnapper take the life of his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley). Then, however, he wakes up. It appears Ray has been resurrected, with super-strength, regeneration, and brain-hacking powers, as part of “Project Bloodshot,” a military arm of genetic augmentation company Rising Spirit. After learning the identity of his wife’s killer, Ray sets out for revenge — but will his new powers be enough to keep him safe from an emerging conspiracy?
Well, yes. “Bloodshot” is neither suspenseful nor surprising. The only thing it seems to take seriously from a craft standpoint is its staggering commitment to mediocrity. There is a potentially interesting message that could be conveyed here, about a military industrial complex that wishes to keep commoditizing its soldiers even after their death, but the movie is mostly uninterested in exploring any of these ideas, content instead to feature many scenes of Diesel mumbling his dialogue to such a degree that it’s nigh incomprehensible.
And besides, the script (by Eric Heisserer and director Jeff Wadlow) is so corny and unimaginative that it’s almost worse when it actually does try to make a point. This is the kind of movie that features multiple jokes about how cliche it is. With a bare-bones plot, brainless themes, and leaden acting (with one exception, which I’ll get to shortly), the only thing left for a movie like this to rely on is the action scenes — which, unfortunately, are just about as sloppy and uninspired as the rest of the film. The editing is so choppy and nonsensical that I was uncertain what was happening much of the time, and it frequently pulls back to earn its PG-13 rating. There’s one scene set in the remains of a crashed flour delivery truck that could be fun to watch if only it was edited cleanly and shot with more of an eye for violence.
To sum up, it’s not a good movie. However, I did want to call out one person in particular who is doing his best with the material at hand. Lamorne Morrison plays the part of Wilfred Wiggins, an expert computer hacker who unwittingly helped create the program that brought Ray back to life. Morrison, a Chicago native, throws himself into this silly part in this silly movie, putting on a comically outsized British accent and acting fidgety as all get-out. He is, in short, having fun with it, which is a courtesy I wish the movie as a whole had extended to me.
Ryan Howard writes about pop culture for The Forest Lake Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.