Sunday, 15 March 2020

Review: Bloodshot

Cert: 12A / 109 mins / Dir. Dave Wilson / Trailer

'Ooh look!' shrills the marketing, 'it's made from off a bestselling comic book!!'. Yeah mate, so was Men In Black and Valerian, what's your point?

So, a larger-than-expected turnout*1 for Bloodshot, the latest Sony-punted vehicle for Vin Diesel as a nano-tech reconstructed super-soldier with a wipe-clean memory, working for a shadowy private security operation and in-turn the highest unethical bidder.

Playing out like Robocop watched Iron Man 3 and Total Recall then hate-fucked xXx, there's not a mortal foe our hero can't pound into submission, nor a plot-marker which will cause him to develop one single iota...

The most acting our man has to do here is that constipated look when Mrs Bloodshot gets Fridged before the title sequence has even landed*2. No small part of the problem is that the star apparently won't allow (or perhaps choose) roles where his character possesses any actual flaws that can be resolved during the story, being saddled instead with the unfixable one-dimensionality which only Diesel™ can bring to the screen*3.

To be fair, there is an interesting reality-shift in the film's second act. Well, it's interesting until the film uses this to segue into an even more hackneyed version of itself instead. For a story this linear it sure as hell drags along, refusing to admit defeat until what is essentially an animated finale leaves no deus exes machina'd.

Oh, and 12A-friendly dick jokes are the worst dick jokes.

Across all cultures and media, science-fiction is a means of exploring humanity's limitations by creating futures without boundaries, of revealing the fantastical potential and pitfalls within our mundane form. Bloodshot however is a two hour VFX demo-reel of lensflared bullet-time; a pixel-y, entry-level action sci-fi b-movie with recycled plot-lines, more explosions than IQ points and a testosterone level which would be lethal in humans, all told with primary colours, white noise and reassuringly small words.


So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Remember that time Vin Diesel made a laughably bad movie about his own D&D character? Bloodshot is somehow worse than that, but very much on the same shelf.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is not.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is not.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It is not.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Go on, have a guess.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Toby 'Additional Voices In The Old Republic is in this, and while I can't quite tell if the accent is meant to be Brisbane, Cape Town or Bethnall Green, he certainly seems to be having more fun than I did...

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 No shut-in virus paranoia for the people of Greenwich, mind you. I looked round during the trailers and thought 'blimey this is busy', then noticed that around half of the audience were kids. And that's fine, Bloodshot is a 12A after all, but Vin Diesel is basically making kids' action movies now. He's finally found an audience who'll take him seriously, if only because they haven't finished growing up yet. The question was of course, would the film be good enough to keep a fidgety adolescent audience engaged? Or perhaps more pertinently, would it be loud enough to drown them out, if not? Guess which one of these gets a "YES"... [ BACK ]

*2 It's faintly ironic that I watched this movie directly after a true story from fifty years ago pointing out that the patriarchy was ultimately making everything shit. [ BACK ]

*3 Hahaha, I joke of course.
Wahlberg, Damon or Skein would easily be able to play Derek Bloodshot to precisely the same effect. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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