Bloodshot (2020)

Let’s make a drinking game:  Every time you see a movie that Bloodshot rips off, that’s one swig of booze.   Robocop.  The Bourne Identity.  Universal Soldier.  Minority Report.  Total Recall.  Edge of Tomorrow.  The bad news?  That’s just the first ten minutes.  Y’all are gonna be slobbering and staggering by the end of the first act.   The good news is that babbling drunk is really the only way to survive the rest of the movie.  If you still wish to proceed, then grab a fifth of Mezcal and consider yourselves warned.

You can probably stitch together the plot from all the movies I just named.  Vin Diesel plays Ray Garrison, a Navy Seal-type dude who can rescue innocents and mow down bad guys without so much as straining a deltoid.  Ray saves the world with manly regularity, then struts home to Gina (Talulah Riley), his beautiful-but-frustrated wife.  She loves him and admires what he does, but Gina implores Ray to stay home for good.  Anybody who’s seen enough of these movies knows that any character who delivers that speech is doomed.  In this case, the person hearing it is also doomed:  A few sleazeballs get the drop on Ray, and he winds up getting killed.

Or does he???  DUN DUN DUNNNNNN.  Actually, no.  He doesn’t.  Ray jolts awake on an operating table, his mind skittish and foggy.  Turns out, our fallen hero has been infused with cybernetic blood that grants him enhanced strength and durability.  He’s also been stripped of all his memories.  Well, almost.  Flashes of pain and heartbreak sear him, serving as a reminder that Ray has unfinished business out there in the world.

These flares of PTSD also provide a warning that Ray’s benefactors may not be all they seem.  The shady scientists are led by Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), a twitchy dude who says all the right things with just a little too much ease.  Harting heads a team of wounded warriors, each of whom has been enhanced with techno-witchcraft to superhuman proportions:  KT (Eiza González) gains a pair of lungs that can breathe anything, anywhere.  Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) once was blind, but now can see like Geordi La Forge.  Jimmy (Sam Huegan) gets new legs that give him–you guessed it–super speed.  TL;DR:  Ray lands on a team of blah super-soldiers, but they definitely know way more than they’re telling him.

As Ray, Diesel makes for a serviceable action hero.  He gives his souped-up superdude the same gravelly, growling stoicism that Stallone and Schwarzenegger used to thrive on back in the 80s.  Pearce slums it as a hard-ass Elon Musk.  After Iron Man 3, he’s officially played the geeky megalomaniac once too often.

It’s actually a remarkable achievement how many movies Bloodshot can riff on and still not be any good.  Are y’all still drinking?  Add the Fast and Furious films, The TerminatorDeath Wish, and 6 Underground to your shot list.  That last film is crucial because this production bears a strong resemblance to Michael Bay’s work, which is never a good thing.  Frantic editing, semi-coherent fight scenes, and sun-drenched vistas make this whole thing feel derivative in style as much as substance.  Bay might make crap, but at least it’s authentic crap.

I remember a winery that once touted their product as “great for second or third bottles.”  That’s a pretty odd boast, because I’ve found that when you get that deep into the evening, just about everything tastes pretty good.  Pound a few back and Bloodshot might start to look like a David Lean film.  But why put yourself through all that?  Just about every movie I’ve named is better than anything in this one.  Hell, even The Six Million Dollar Man beats the hell out of this codswallop.  So, I would load up one of those, that way you can watch a film without making your eyes bloodshot.

109 min.  PG-13.

Author: Todd Wofford

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