I don’t think there’s a film out there that had worst luck upon its release than Bloodshot.
Officially released on March 13 of this year, it was put into theaters -if memory serves- on the very week that they were shutting down because of fears of transmission of COVID-19.
Such incredible “luck”, no?
Needless to say, the film didn’t do all that well. Then again, with the theaters closing off around them as it was released, how could it?
The film was relatively quickly released to VOD and, last week, it popped up on Starz! so, curious to see it, I set the ol’ DVR up and a couple of days ago I sat down and watched it.
To begin, the film certainly isn’t terrible, but on the other hand it sure feels like the studios imposed their will upon the movie’s creators and forced them to take what I suspect was an “R” rated action film and water it down so that it could be released as a more “family friendly” PG-13 feature.
The movie begins with a no-named soldier (Vin Diesel), dealing with a terrorist situation, then returning for R & R, meeting up with his wife, having an idyllic get together (all PG:13 rated!) only to then be kidnapped by associates of the terrorist he dealt with. His wife is brutally -well, as brutally as a PG:13 rating will allow- murdered and our no-name soldier swears vengeance before the terrorist associate kills him, too.
These early sequences, frankly, turned me off. They were so very, very idyllic and cliched as to be groan inducing. But as it turned out, the film was far more clever here than I thought (More following the SPOILERS!).
Our hero wakes up to find he died and his corpse was donated to a top secret tech agency that has revived him. He doesn’t have any memories of what happened to him before but comes to find he is now super powered: His blood has been replaced with nano-particles which fix him up when he’s injured, making him pretty much immortal/invincible.
He’s stronger, faster… and essentially an updated version of The Six Million Dollar Man. Only this Steve Austin actually died before he was “fixed”.
But then the memories of who he was comes back to him and our hero takes off… to kill the man who killed him as well as his wife.
To get into more I’d have to deal with SPOILERS and, as I said before, I’ll do that in a moment. But before I do, let me say Bloodshot, while far from a great film, isn’t too bad. Again, the problem lies in the fact that it felt to me the film was originally intended to be an “R” feature but the studios forced the movie’s makers to soften it up and that, IMHO, ultimately let the film down.
There is hardly any cursing. The action scenes, while competently done, never become terribly bloody or gruesome even though, especially toward the film’s climax, it looked like they could and should have been.
Is the film worth your time? In the end I can only offer a mild recommendation. Bloodshot wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, not by a long shot, but it quickly settles into a mild presentation and never really wows you like it should have.
You’ve been warned!
As is depressingly too common, this trailer for Bloodshot, which I thankfully never saw before seeing the film proper, gives away the movie’s biggest plot surprise.
Once again: If you know nothing about Bloodshot and want to see the film, I urge you not to see this trailer. You’ve been warned, redux!
If you’ve just spoiled yourself by seeing the trailer, you’ve come to realize the big twist in the film: Those opening sequences which depict our nameless hero taking on a terrorist and then subsequently being kidnapped and watching his wife murdered before he’s killed and which are cliched to the point of parody… are false memories.
Our hero never faced off against a terrorist. He certainly never was captured and, we find out later in the film, his “wife” never was killed. In fact, she’s still alive and apparently the two broke off their relationship -they may not be husband and wife at all- some five years before and she now has a husband and kids and no desire to get back with her ex.
We never learn how Bloodshot -or rather his body- came to this high tech organization, but we do realize he’s been fed these thoughts with the object of having them be revealed so that he will go out and kill the person he thinks was responsible for he and his wife’s murder.
See, each time he has those memories “come back”, the person who murders him and his wife is different. Turns out the head of this high tech company, Dr. Harting (Guy Pearce, not too bad as the eventually revealed bad guy), is getting rid of his tech rivals who helped him conceive this super soldier nanites, and he wants his rivals gone.
I’ll be blunt here: I think that’s freaking brilliant.
Unfortunately, the movie is soft when it should be razor sharp. It never draws (ahem) blood like it should. When Bloodshot eventually faces off against Dr. Harting’s goons, its presented in an incredibly bland manner, to the point where we don’t even know if the two are dead.
Man, if Paul Verhoeven had directed this film in/around the time he did Robocop, that would have been something!
But he didn’t and we’ve got what we’ve got. A movie with a damn clever concept but a rather bland presentation.