An intriguing idea & some flashy visuals let down by terrible writing
- Bloodshot review by BG
Let's frontload the good stuff: -
Vin Diesel gives good growl as dead soldier 'Ray', who is resurrected by nano-tech thanks to Guy Pearce and his firm RST, where they make flashy cyber-enhancements to improve wounded soldiers, or even bring them back from the dead.
As their first trial of the nano-tech, Ray seems promising until he remembers who killed him and his wife, and sets off on a rampage of revenge. Except something seems wrong...
I won't go into spoilers here, although if you've seen the trailer you already know more, as they give away the very ingenious twist...and the beginning, middle and end. For real.
Diesel is decent in the lead, but needs to start stretching himself. This is Dom Toretto meets Riddick, but the man's no fool and the routine works here.
Pearce is also decent (except for a mystery Irish accent in the middle of one scene).
There's an impressive convoy attack that feels somewhere between a brutal game cut-scene and a music video, with slow-mo artistic violence and rich primary colours. Some of the photography is fun, and the artificial limb super-enhancements are good designs. Sam Heughan also gives good snarl as an RST colleague. However, that's where the good stuff ends.
Eiza Gonzalez (from Baby Driver) is given almost no characterisation except a navy medallion and some underwater posing, and her superpower basically boils down to 'she can breathe really well' (not kidding). Talulah Riley gets to play 'typical action hero girlfriend' by twirling in sunlight and worshiping Ray, before just being his motivation, bar one interesting scene that goes nowhere meaningful. The women get terrible roles in this.
Alex Hernandez initially seems promising as a blind veteran whose armour helps him see, but again, there his character utterly stops. That's pretty much his character's personality.
Lamorne Morris (from Game Night) gets to play an absolutely terrible IT geek who is so fake-quirky and stereotypical that it almost derails the movie with weird unamusing try-hard 'comedy' in every scene that features him.
We a joke that an IT programmer has used almost 'every movie cliche in the book' while creating a fake scenario, only for the movie to be so free of insight that it gleefully embraces almost every movie cliche in the book in all the other scenes.
We get a ridiculous foot-chase that is supposed to take place in 'London' but almost immediately (and INCREDIBLY obviously) becomes filmed in Cape Town in South Africa, simply because the buildings all become blatantly utterly different (and about twenty feet lower in height), as does the street design, the lighting and even the Police car that appears on camera. The final battle is also what can only be described as a typical sci-fi 'CGI ****athon' where they frequently move between a real person and a blatant CGI model.
Dave Wilson's feature debut after being a cinematics adviser on computer games and CGI feels like the first big movie by a new director who is too scared to challenge studio expectations, so instead uses all the flashy visuals he can in the hope we don't fall through the planet-sized holes in the story.
The "script" is written by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer. Yep, the guy from 'Arrival', paired with the writer of two of Blumhouse's least scary movies and terrible 'lions-attack-safari-goers' movie 'Prey'. We get almost no actual character development for Ray (it's never actually resolved how he really died), the women are just there to look pouty and fail the Bechdel test, almost all the amputee characters are psychopaths, all the IT characters are insecure or unstable, and the story barely bothers to explain why the bad guy's being so evil. It laughably badly plotted.
Decent designs, flashy action and interesting violence are the only things this film has to offer.
Maybe decent as background noise with a few beers, but it can't be bothered to respect your time by giving you a story.
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