In the 2010s, every studio needed a comics franchise to exploit for box office supremacy – Warner’s DC, Disney’s MCU, and Sony, not happy sharing Spider-Man with Disney, picked up Valiant’s Bloodshot from the Columbia scrap heap by way of Paramount.
In the intervening years, filmgoers had already been treated to an endless array of gun-toting, cool-looking figures from Neo to John Wick (who just happen to be played by the endlessly fascinating Keanu Reeves).
There was no particular demand for one more, certainly not one played by Vin Diesel whose range goes from A to B. From Pitch Black to Hobbs and Shaw, he’s pretty much the same guy, without the range of roles his rival, Dwayne Johnson, has managed.
So, Sony finally delivers a Diesel vehicle in Bloodshot and it was fittingly met with a giant yawn from general audiences and comics fans alike. Out now on disc and streaming, the Sony Home Entertainment film isn’t bad; it isn’t great either. What’s missing is something that feels fresh, a performance that shows us something different, and a reason to be emotionally invested.
Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is a dead Marine brought back to life thanks to nanotechnology. Fresh from the grave, he intends to kill Martin Axe (Tony Kebbell), the man who murdered his wife Gina (Talulah Riley) before realizing that the man who resurrected him, Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), is up to no good (ho-hum). A lot of this smacks more of Deathlok than anything else and even that’s been recycled on television.
We race around the world, we watch him fight people, break things, got injured and regenerate, rinse, repeat.
The debuting director, David S.F. Wilson, was a good choice if you’re into production design and special effects, where the film is at least moderately interesting. Where the film needed a more skilled director was to work with hack Jeff Wadlow’s screenplay, which he’d been working on for many a year, through several studios before someone wisely brought in Eric Heisserer to finesse it, but it might have been too little, too late.
Wilson doesn’t seem to know what to do with the supporting players including the cyborg jerk Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan) or the possibly intriguing KT, played by Diesel’s Fast & Furious universe costar Eiza González, who acquitted herself nicely in Baby Driver.
Despite the bland script and lackluster direction, Diesel gives it his all and is 100% committed to the part. He just isn’t given anything interesting to do with the character.
The film suffered from bad reviews just in time for the coronavirus to shutter theaters around the world, leaving the film to a streaming fate as it eked out a mere #28 million worldwide against a $45 million budget. Whatever plans there were for a Valiant Cinematic Universe may have become an unintentional Covid-19 victim.
The movie can be found streaming and in the standard 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD flavors. The film itself was reviewed via Moviesanywhere.com and the high definition performance was sharp, clear, colorful, and just fine making the movie look better than it is.
The digital and discs have an assortment of special features that are worth a look only if you liked the feature. There’s R.S.T. HACK: CHAINSAW, a set of four animated shorts (6:20) purportedly revealing classified information on CHAINSAW.
Before Sony enthusiastically provided the cash for the ending, an earlier and less interesting version was shot and is included here with optional commentary (4:26). There are three other deleted and extended scenes: This is What we Fight For (1:22) Why can’t I remember anything (2:50), and Eric Evacuates (:31).
Rounding out the extras are the standard background pieces including Outtakes & Blooper Reel (1:59), Initiate Sequence: Directing Bloodshot (9:16), and Forgotten Soldiers: The Cast of Bloodshot (11:13).