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'The truth is nobody wants to make real decisions anymore'
In the perennial season of superheroes arrives Valiant comics attempt at launching their own range of larger than life characters on the big screen. Bloodshot is not a much known character outside the comics' loyal fan base and the efforts to bring his origin story to the world are tepid at best.
The film looks like something a studio would approve as test material and not end product. Even the screenplay lacks any depth as everything is either simplified or hurried. The lack of investment in storyline is puzzling, considering the fact that this is the intended start of a new franchise. Maybe they wanted to get the project off the ground quickly. Or maybe they just wanted to get rid off it quickly. Unless the audience somehow empathizes with the character, this doesn't appear like the beginning of a shared universe.
Vin Diesel stars as US marine Ray Garrison/ Bloodshot who gets healing powers much similar to Wolverine. Only here it is because of some special nanite technology. The action starts with a successful rescue operation for a change, followed by romantic exchange with his wife, Gina, and an interrogation scene with some unbeknownst kidnappers. Both the on-screen couple are murdered here, only for Ray to be resuscitated by Dr. Harting of Rising Spirit Tech (RST). While Ray wakes up with absolutely no memory of his past, it takes him less than 15 minutes to recall both his wife's assassination and the assassinator. He proceeds to Hungary on the trail of the man in question and thousands of bullets later, manages to avenge Gina.
It is here that Bloodshot's only slug at some kind of inventiveness occurs as the narrative till now becomes dubious. Questions arise regarding muddling with memory. Themes like flawed realities against perfect yarns are explored but not at large. If only the makers had decided to give some semblance of a soul to the premise, then this would have been a far better experience. But that's not the case here, and Bloodshot progresses with the same vapidness for the rest of the movie.
Diesel does as much is expected from the lead of a superhero movie. He is cast here because of his box office prowess and not for his acting chops and that's well understood. What isn't is why he approved such a haste and low profile attempt of a tentpole. Guy Pearce plays the antagonist in what is, his second foray in the superhero genre after Iron Man 3 (2013). That film was evident that Pearce could leave a mark even in a remotely measured character. Here, he doesn't do much just like the rest of the cast. Everyone has a single dimensional character that is easily slotted into some conventional archetype. The film also lacks any elemental antagonist that can provide a few decent action face-off scenes with Vin Diesel.
Director David S.F. Wilson should be given given credit for keeping the backstory very short. He knows the target audience turned up for seeing the superhero and not his alter ego. However, he should also be blamed for showing the same dash throughout the movie. Consider a scene where Bloodshot realises the reality of his relationship with an important character. While the truth in question is supposed to be heart-wrenching, barely any remorse is expressed in the following scene. Rather, the action scenes resume as if nothing happened.
Why Bloodshot (2020) is packaged as an insignificant film is unknown. The marketing materials were decent, but that is all to it. Even the beautiful sound mixing done in the promotional videos fails to strike a chord in the feature film. With a better development, this could have been the shining triumph of the first few months of the year. Rather this is the start or maybe the halt of Valiant comics' efforts at big screen adaptation.