Director: David SF Wilson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Guy Pierce, Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Lamore Morris
Valiant Comics' first attempt at establishing a cinematic universe of their own with their most popular character Bloodshot suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic as the film's run was cut short globally. However, as the film makes its digital debut on Amazon Prime, there is a little sliver of hope that it reaches where it was supposed to be.
Directed by David SF Wilson, the film tells the story of Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), a soldier who was murdered by a "Psycho Killer (Toby Kebbel)," who also killed his wife Gina (Talulah Riley) in front of him.
He wakes up at a laboratory, where a scientist Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) tells him he has been resurrected from the dead. Not only is he alive, he is superhuman now, a special technology giving him the power to regenerate from the most fatal injuries in seconds. While this reminds us of Wolverine and Deadpool, Dr Harting's treatment of amputee soldiers to make them superhuman feels like a parallel to Guy Pearce's role in Iron Man 3.
When Ray wakes up, he has no memory of his life, or the fact that he swore revenge on the man who killed his wife. "Our past doesn't have to determine who we could be," Dr Harting tells him.
He is told that he is destined to be a super-soldier now, just like KT (Gonzalez), Jimmy Dalton (Heughan) and Marcus Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) - all US war veterans who were amputed on the field. But when he randomly gets his memories and remembers what happened to Gina, he goes rogue and tracks down his killer. He does this by getting access to every classified file, every security camera ever, and when it is all playing out, you cannot help but think about the massive surveillance system Batman uses to track down the Joker in The Dark Knight.
These aren't the only scenes that look familiar, however, that's the risk a new comic universe has to take, when its competitors are multi-billion dollar studios. But what Bloodshot lacks in fresh concepts, it makes up for with high emotional quotient. The film picks up when Ray realises there is a much bigger conspiracy surrounding his existence.
Emotions like loss and revenge are not played out as a ploy to show how macho our protagonist is, but to show how they can be manipulated to make human beings do bad things. Or the concept of living in a police state where you are being watched, every single minute of your life. Is your freedom up for trade, if it means that you can be the best version of yourself? A lot of good things about Bloodshot is frankly, not in its super-heroism.
The film obviously has some seasoned performances. Vin Diesel has beaten up so many bad guys over the years I forget that he is pretending. Eiza González has the ability to be robotic and emotional at the same time. However, the scene stealers are Lamorne Morris and Siddharth Dhananjay as two competing techies (read nerds) who bring much needed comic relief to the film. Guy Pearce and Outlander fame Sam Heughan bring an unsettling tenacity to their acts.
While Bloodshot has its problems, it is not a film that should be written off so soon. The characters show a lot of promise, and that may help it in getting established with more films in the series.