Vin Diesel single-handedly bears the burdens of spectacles in Bloodshot, a live-action adaptation of a Valiant Comics property. With narrative reminiscing the story of RoboCop, the super-human story is meant to a throwback to retro-action movies involving conspiracies, tech-wars, and cold action sequences. A while ago, Bloodshot was intended to open a certain kind of shared universe (involving another Valiant property, Harbinger); but, the idea was now scraped, even when the projects still develop, and that’s possibly a correct decision.
Diesel is an ex-military man who was kidnapped and assassinated with his wife (Talulah Riley). He’s then brought back to life by a group of scientists led by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) with literal bloodshot transfused into his dead body in the entirety. Yet, he’s come back a different man. Augmented with nanotechnologies that run through his blood, Diesel is now Bloodshot—a godlike killing machine with enhanced physical ability, rapid cell regeneration, and nanites that work like a super-computer. Technically, he’s unstoppable; but, it’s not the case for him.
Bloodshot is unable to remember anything from his past, but, his fellow super-soldier, KT (Eiza Gonzalez), assures him that it might come back soon and he wouldn’t like it when it does. At this point, Bloodshot turns from being a RoboCop-inspired superhuman action to becoming a RoboCop-wannabe. Jeff Wadlow (recently directing Fantasy Island) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival)’s script takes no risky leap in distancing itself from being completely derivative. Even when they start to develop a more complicated conspiracy war involving Lamorne Morris vs. Pearce and Siddhart Dhananjay, the whole complication only distracts audiences from the bonding with the titular hero.
In a similar comic-book movie, audiences are usually led to studying the protagonists (even an unknown one) before using the star-power to deliver the likability. Bloodshot is playing it quite differently; Vin Diesel is practically Vin Diesel and, by the end of the movie, Bloodshot is still an unknown anti-hero. Even when the pale Diesel is faithful to the source material, what audiences see is still Diesel and not the comic-book character. The actor’s bulky figure makes the action sequences a bit stiff even when the movie still has some memorable actions. With Bloodshot’s ability, the movie has the potential to unleash the beast and makes it an R-rated feast, but, instead, it becomes a mediocre bravado.
Now, picture this. John Wick‘s directors, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, were set to direct this with Jared Leto starring (before he moves on to do another comic-book movie, Morbius). VFX artists, Dave Wilson steps in as a director. His biggest achievement in the movie is the iconic head-shot scenes and the flying elevator scene which uses a lot of slo-mo-and-pause haul between Diesel and some exoskeleton guy. Aside from that, Bloodshot is a cliche-ridden mediocrity.