Bloodshot is a far better movie than you would expect it to be.
Director David Wilson took writers Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer’s interpretation of a middling 1992 Valiant Comics hero and turned it around with some clever, unexpected twists.
The movie gets the basics down. Just as the character was conceived by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton, Bloodshot is a killer whose blood was replaced by billions of nanites, little robot buggers that can almost instantly rebuild the body and recover from any injury. If you think that sounds a little bit like Wolverine by way of The Punisher, you wouldn’t be far off.
The movie opens on the action as Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) leads some kind of Seal-type team into a mission to capture a bad guy, only to be captured himself after returning home. He strains against his bonds, as his tormentor dances weirdly to the Talking Heads’ a-little-too-on-point “Psycho Killer.” The situation gets worse when Garrison sees that his gorgeous wife is also captured. Then the bad guy kills both of them.
End of movie? Not quite.
Garrison opens his eyes on a table in a laboratory, his memories gone. Scientist and seemingly good guy, Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), explains that Garrison was a lifeless corpse that he reanimated and promises to help him regain his lost memories.
That’s when the movie takes an unexpected turn. It’s a shock and immediately raises the level of the film. Everything after is an endless array of fighting, shooting, hacking and killing, which knocks the movie back down to the level of a video game, but still—that previously mentioned twist is enough to elevate the whole film.
Diesel’s co-star, the gorgeous KT (Eliza Gonzalez) is the second-best actor in the film and the easiest to look at. The rest are bad guy clichés. Diesel’s assistant is a hackneyed computer hacker named Wilfred, overplayed by an annoying Lamore Morris.
The special effects in the film, as well as the fight scenes, are pretty amazing, but in truth the movie rises or falls on Vin Diesel.
Yeah, it’s his movie.
His grim, tortured delivery and oversized physical presence carries the flick from start to finish. In the non-violent scenes the star of the innumerable Fast and Furious films actually shows some acting chops.
And like any good comic book movie, the ending is open to sequels to handle the many unanswered questions.
Valiant Comics, welcome to the cinematic battleground.
Michael Sangiacomo is a writer from South Amherst.
Editor’s note: Hello, word nerds! If you’ve read this far hoping to find out what a spondaic word is, look no further!
If you’ve ever read the title of almost any Image book from the 90’s, you already know the answer: a spondee is a word or phrase with two consecutive stressed syllables. Shakespeare did it all the time, and if it’s good enough for Shakespeare, it’s even better for McFarlane and Liefeld, whose motto in those days was probably something like, “You can never have too much of anything.”
If you stop in the shop this week, feel free to use your favorite spondee in a sentence!