Bloodshot stars Vin Diesel, Eliza Gonzalez, and Guy Pearce and was directed by David S.F. Wilson. Based on the Valiant comic of the same name, Bloodshot tells the story of marine Ray Garrison, played by Vin Diesel, who’s resurrected after his own murder and augmented with nanotechnology that gives him superhuman abilities. Do you ever watch a new movie and just feel like it came out at the wrong point in time? That had it been released in some other year, it would’ve made more sense and been a better fit? Well, Bloodshot is the epitome of that type of movie.
From a story and tone perspective, this doesn’t feel like a 2020 film at all. Instead, I think this movie would’ve fit in perfectly with the surge of sci-fi action movies that were released in the late 90s and early 2000s. This film definitely has quite a few issues, but honestly, if it had been released back then, I think it would’ve been pretty popular. So, why does Bloodshot feel so out of its time? I think part of it comes down to the source material. Now, I’ve never read the Bloodshot comics, so I can’t comment on just how similar or different the story is, but I do know that this character was introduced in 1992. And it feels like that. He has that kind of unstoppable macho commando vibe to him that just feels very 90s.
Then you throw in the self-serious tone, ridiculous technology, and overly familiar super-soldier plot and you’ve got a movie you swear you’ve seen before. Before I get too harsh with this movie, I do want to say that I think the premise is decent. It’s not executed in the best way, but it definitely had a lot of potential. Again, it’s incredibly familiar. The super-soldier superhero aspects of this will no doubt conjure thoughts of X-Men’s Weapon X Program with Wolverine and Deadpool, but it’s also pretty similar to DC’s analogous metahuman program and the origins of Deathstroke.
Bloodshot does add an interesting twist to this basic premise though, which I’m not gonna spoil here, but be aware that the trailer blatantly spoils it. Again, this twist is familiar and if you’ve watched many sci-fi movies in the last 20 years or so, you’ve probably already seen something similar, but I think this movie benefits from the surprise of the twist, so if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, don’t seek it out until after you’ve seen the movie. Unfortunately for this film, a good premise isn’t enough to make it as good movie. Much like many of its would-be conspecifics from the late 90s, this is a complete mess of a movie. There are so many generic, ripped-off, and random ideas that are just thrown together in a really haphazard way.
The individual pieces aren’t inherently bad, there’s just no natural structure or flow to them. The plot itself is just this jumbled collection of ìthat would be coolî ideas that don’t fit together in any logical way. Super-soldier? Sure. Weird Psycho Killer dance scene? Why not? Guy Ritchie-style slow-mo fight sequence in a tunnel filled with flour uhh, okay? To be fair, the filmmakers seemed to realize how dumb and trope-driven most of the events in the movie are cause characters draw attention to that fact multiple times during this movie in a sorta meta fashion.
The way the plot’s constructed, it provides some flexibility with these stupid elements and gives the filmmakers a way to sorta explain them away. And to an extent, it’s kinda clever how they did that, but not nearly as clever as they think it is, so most people aren’t gonna pick up on that and will just view the stupid aspects as stupid. As subpar as much of this movie is, I actually didn’t hate it. I didn’t like it all that much, but it fulfilled my low expectations, so I can’t say I was even disappointed by it. It’s generic and it’s dumb, but it gets the job done. Movies like this really illustrate the need to think about who the target audience is. Bloodshot wasn’t ever gonna be a cinematic masterpiece, so viewing it with an overly critical eye is just pointless.
Like I said before, if this movie came out in 1999, I think it would be one that we’d consider to be a bad movie, but would look back on fondly. Alright let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one and really the only major pro is the premise. Yeah it’s familiar, yeah it’s pretty derivative, but it’s also pretty cool. Even with the similarities to other movies, I found myself getting drawn into the idea and being interested in how the story was getting set-up.
This one definitely had a lot of potential and could’ve gone in some pretty interesting directions. It just didn’t really stick the landing or do the actual trick very well either. On the con side, the biggest issue is definitely the script. I’m not really sure how this particular version of the script got greenlit. The idea of the movie sure, but this script was a mess and felt more like an early draft than the final product. It’s just so cobbled together.
I mean, sci-fi movies typically have their fair share of plotholes and inconsistencies, but this movie takes it to the extreme. And those kinds of things can be overlooked in a movie with really great action or extremely memorable characters or cool dialogue, but this movie doesn’t offer that either, so the script issues really stand out. The second con is kinda related to the first and it’s how much of a mess the tone of this film is. So, I know I’ve compared this movie to sci-fi action movies from the late 90s a lot in this review, but this is just another reason why.
Much like most of those movies, Bloodshot has a really weird tonal mix. It’s far too self-serious. Now I’m not somebody who thinks comedy has to be in every movie, but for big dumb action movies like this, they really need it. And I guess there are attempts at humor here (including a really random Coming to America reference), but the delivery was always awkward and the jokes fell flat almost every time.
I don’t know, this movie was just really out of balance. Before I give you my rating and recommendations, I want to remind you that if you’re interested in buying Bloodshot or any of the other films I mentioned today, I do have affiliate links for all of them in the description below. I get a small commission from anything you buy using one of my links, so I’d really appreciate if you’d use them if you’re in the market for any of these movies. I’m gonna give Bloodshot 2.5 out of 5 paws. It definitely has a lot of issues and frustratingly didn’t deliver on the full potential of its premise, but I gotta say I was entertained by it.
It’s really generic and pretty average, so it gets an average score. I would recommend Bloodshot to fans of late 90s, early 2000s sci-fi action movies. Big surprise, right? But seriously, this movie just feels like one of those movies. So if you have a soft spot for that kind of big dumb action movie, you’ll probably really like this too. Also, I imagine those who have some sort of existing affinity for the Bloodshot comics will probably enjoy this one a bit more than the average viewer.
If you liked Bloodshot, I would recommend X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the obvious super-soldier storyline similarities. Although it’s widely regarded as one of the weakest X-Men films, it does feature a metahuman military team kinda similar to what we see here. If you want more human upgrade and augmentation, you should check out Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade.
That one focuses on a regular guy rather than a soldier, so there are some unique elements to the whole upgrade storyline. And if you want to see a Vin Diesel sci-fi action movie that was actually released in the late 90s ñ early 2000s time period, you should watch Pitch Black. Alright, a couple questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Bloodshot? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What’s a movie that you think feels like it came out in the wrong decade? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.