My wife and I decided we were in the mood for a movie last night after we put the boy to bed. It’s entirely possible that you don’t even know Bloodshot exists in the first place; it’s based on a comic book character, but from the Valiant universe, and if you’re not already a comic book person you do not know the Valiant universe exists. I am a comic book person and literally the only things I knew about Bloodshot going into the movie was that he was created during the 90s, which is the era when “Bloodshot” was something you decided to name your characters (I’m pretty sure the word is never once uttered in the film) and that he used guns and could regenerate. That was it.
The movie also had the deep misfortune to come out on March 13, which was the exact weekend that all hell broke loose and everything started getting cancelled. My last day at work was March 16, the following Monday. I don’t think they were really expecting gangbusters numbers out of this or it wouldn’t have released in March in the first place, but it flopped, and flopped hard. And it was sitting on a rather pathetic 33% rating on the TomatoMeter. We were both in the mood for a dumb action movie, though, and I am a huge Vin Diesel fan regardless of what he’s in, so what the hell, I’ll burn $5.99 to rent this on a Saturday night. It doesn’t need to be art, it needs to entertain me for two hours.
Not only is Bloodshot at least a solid movie, it’s an interesting one on a lot of different levels. The direction, in particular, makes the film worth watching all by itself– this is not a thing that I often say about movies, but the color palette the movie uses is a fascinating choice for an action movie, and there is a fight at the end that takes place in an elevator shaft on the outside of a skyscraper that was just outstanding. The rest of it is shot more like a drama than an action movie, which sounds like a criticism but isn’t. Bloodshot himself tends to be a little lumbery and Frankenstein-ish; like, dude, I know you’ll regenerate and gunshots aren’t likely to kill you, but maybe don’t just walk straight toward the guys that are shooting at you? Like, save the regeneration for when you need it.
There is also a Big Twist, but the Big Twist happens at about the 1/3 mark of the film, which … is not how that usually works? And I’m going to suggest that you withhold judgment until you get to that Big Twist, because it’s going to recast everything you just saw and some things that maybe didn’t make a ton of sense at first are going to click. And pay attention before then, because you get some interesting hints at what’s going on scattered here and there.
Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel; you kind of know what to expect there, and Guy Pearce continues to be a chameleon. There are a couple of weak spots in the cast; the bad guy’s muscle is underwritten, including one guy who is angry all the time for no clear reason, and I don’t know who decided that the guy who played Winston on New Girl should do his entire character with what I think was supposed to be a Cockney accent, but Jesus, his accent is so terrible that after a while I decided that the character was from Chicago and the whole thing was an elaborate prank.
… which, if you’d ever watched New Girl, you know that would have been just about the best movie moment of all time. Prank Sinatra, baby!
So: Bloodshot is not going to change your life or anything like that, but it’s a solid B as a film, which I was not expecting from something at 33% on the critical reviews. It’s a great Saturday night rental if you’re in the mood for an action movie. Check it out.
11:01 AM, Sunday June 14: 2,075,840 confirmed cases and 115,458 Americans dead.