• 28 Mar - 03 Apr, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is introduced in Bloodshot as a lethal combination of flesh and technology. The script goes through the factory-issue beats for any star vehicle about a supersoldier stripped of his memory and converted into a killing machine, an oddly specific setup to be so well trodden. There’s a loving wife as silent as she is blond, an eccentric murderer dancing around to Psycho Killer by Talking Heads, the barked vow to find and destroy the men responsible. After the first act winds up and our hero gets reborn, the lab techs responsible for converting Garrison into the unstoppable force known as Bloodshot mutter about how they went strictly by the book in concocting this scenario.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film fails to do anything with this trite simulation beyond plug it in to a story equally bereft of imagination. While sinister robot-handed scientist Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and his lackeys pull the digital wool over Garrison’s brain’s eyes, their “reality” feels no realer. Everyone speaks in a pseudo-techno dialect that only breaks up the long strings of jargon with pat affirmations of thin archetypes. Garrison gains the obligatory Sturdy Female Ally in fellow augmentee KT (Eiza González), and a flavourless rival in the cybernetically enhanced Dalton (Sam Heughan). The film doubles up on tokenised comic relief, between bad nerd Eric (Siddharth Dhananjay) and good nerd Wilfred (Lamorne Morris, doing a dreadful and inexplicable English accent).

They’re all taken to school by Diesel, outdoing the entire cast in terms of sheer magnetism even with part of his character’s brain turned off. His physical attributes prove a great boon to the film at large, particularly in the pair of standout fight scenes mounting the lone argument for this film’s existence. Diesel has the build and gait of a person who could conceivably be the recipient of a bionic boost. His punches look like how they sound. The standout sequence, a slow-mo ballet involving an overturned flour truck and a fistful of crimson flares, brings out his brutality via hypersaturated music-video expressionism.

Aside from the singular brawn of its leading man, Bloodshot has nothing much worth launching. It’s a stack of wormed-over action tropes, and to make matters worse, the movie knows it – and yet does not know enough to spare us its missteps in the first place.