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'Bloodshot' review: Diesel-fuelled superheroic action

Michael Cheang

The Star/Asia News Network

 /  Sat, March 14, 2020  /  08:09 pm

Sometimes, you know exactly what you’re going to get out of a movie just by looking at who the lead actor is.

Vin Diesel’s movies, for instance, are simple – whether it’s the Fast And Furious, XxX, Riddick franchises, or even The Pacifier, you know you’ll at least get some good, mindless, action-packed fun out of the 90 minutes or so in the cinema. You may not be able to fathom what he is mumbling about half the time, but hey, that guy can throw a punch, and he never seems to get hurt. At all.

With Bloodshot, Diesel pretty much sticks to the formula. The over-the-top action sequences are there, and so are all the bone-crushing stunts, but this time, at least he has a reason for his invulnerability: superpowers!

Diesel plays US Marine hot shot Ray Garrison, who is kidnapped and murdered along with his wife after a mission. Or so it seems.

Read also: 'Onward' review: Whimsical, fantastical journey with lots of Pixar's pixie dust

Ray later wakes up on a cold medical table in a building in the middle of Kuala Lumpur (looking very un-KL-like). He’s brought back to life by Dr Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), minus his memory, but with a few physical improvements – his body is now enhanced with nanotechnology, making him a superhuman, a biotech killing machine that can’t be killed.

Joining a team of similarly enhanced super-soldiers – which includes the beautiful but deadly KT (Eiza Gonzalez) – he slowly begins to regain his memory, and sets out to hunt down the man who killed him and his wife. However, Ray soon discovers that not everything is as it seems, and that, he is involved in something much, much bigger than he thought.

Story-wise, this is pretty standard fare, especially for a Vin Diesel movie. If you’ve read the comic books by Valiant Comics, you’ll notice that this isn’t exactly a direct adaptation of the series. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the main character is Bloodshot, this could have been any other generic Vin Diesel action movie.

The supporting characters aren’t too memorable either – Gonzalez is the token female character who gets one scene to show off what she can do, while Pearce seems to be rehashing his role from Iron Man 3. The one saving grace from the cast (aside from Diesel) is Lamorne Morris’ hacker Wigans, who at least manages to inject some humor into an otherwise predictable and dour script.

Still, credit to director David S.F. Wilson for pulling off a decent job with the somewhat limited script, particularly in the way the movie starts out as a seemingly straightforward revenge flick only to take a surprising turn halfway through.

Sure, you don’t need enhanced vision to see the “twist” coming a mile a way, but the way he pulls it off still manages to illicit a modicum of surprise out of you, and turns the story somewhat. It’s not that hard a turn though, more like a gentle merging into another lane on the action-packed highway, but it did at least inject some much-needed freshness into the movie. The action is decent as well, with one stylishly filmed sequence in a flour-filled tunnel being the standout from the pack.

If you like watching Vin Diesel doing his thing, or just mindless action movies in general, then this is the movie for you.

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This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post