By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Based on the Valiant Comics, Bloodshot introduces movie audiences to the character of Ray Garrison, an unwitting pawn in a race to create a team of enhanced super soldiers for mostly financial gain and power. The movie serves as a hopeful opportunity to launch another comic-inspired cinematic universe, and gives star Vin Diesel another vehicle to flex his formidable screen presence. The result of this first entry is an enjoyable, but certainly unoriginal piece that borrows heavily from other similar stories and films that have preceded it. It is a fun movie overall, but one that probably would have been better off had it been released through a television streaming service.

Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a skilled special forces soldier who has probably served in too many violent black ops missions. After completing his latest job, he seeks comfort in the arms of his beloved wife Gina (Talulah Riley). Just as he and Gina have celebrated his recent return home, some enemies created through his job attack and forever change their lives. Garrison eventually awakens, but soon discovers that he has no memory of his past life and that he is the unwitting guinea pig of a major scientific experiment.

Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and his team of scientists have brought him back from the dead through an experimental project called Bloodshot. Through nanotechnology, Garrison has increased strength, a fast healing capability, in addition to the ability to mentally access electronic hardware and digital software. As memories from his past life flash back, he decides to take out the people responsible for his recent situation. However, he soon discovers things aren’t exactly as he remembers them and that there are others manipulating his perception of things.

Written by Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer, and directed by David S. F. Wilson, Bloodshot has its fun and exciting moments, but so much of it feel all too familiar. The action sequences and the heavy use of mediocre CGI took me back to a time in the late 90s when other, more original filmmakers were trying to redefine comic-styled action filmmaking. In other words, Bloodshot is not at all a major step forward, but is actually a heavily retreaded step backward for the comic genre. The basic story elements are there for greater innovation and realization; however, the filmmakers and perhaps their budget limitations held this movie back in a major way. And had the filmmakers truly committted to a throwback experience, this movie might have worked better.

The cast seems to try their hardest to make this affair work, but like their characters, they are victims to the trappings of their puppet masters. Vin Diesel feels a bit over extended here. The actor does have a great screen presence, but doesn’t quite have the acting skills to completely bring his character to life. Guy Pearce does well enough with his material, but is limited by the weak writing. The most fun character in the film is Wilfred Wigans, a rogue tech expert/hacker who eventually helps Garrison’s cause. As Wigans, actor Lamorne Morris makes the most of his screen time and flexes his talents of wit and timing to make a definitely entertaining impression. The movie also features fine work by Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Talulah Riley, and Alex Hernandez.

As far as movie audiences go, I honestly am not sure how well this movie will go over with them. There is a decent entertainment factor to Bloodshot, and Vin Diesel certainly has his dedicated fans, but this particular movie doesn’t have much else going for it. Should this movie achieve some moderate success, the producers and filmmakers will have to do much better should they decide to proceed with further installments. This first entry gets off to a rather skaky start.

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