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Review: ‘Bloodshot’ forgets they’re still human (Includes first-hand account)

Science and technology have been changing the way we live for centuries, particularly since the industrial revolution. From making tasks easier to extending life expectancies, the world is forever evolving due to new discoveries and innovations. Procedures and treatments allow some to “cheat death,” eradicating disease and repairing or replacing damaged parts. However, they’re still only able to reverse death in the movies… for now. Bringing back the dead has mixed results in fiction, but it’s typically a negative experience to some degree and must be rectified by the end. In Bloodshot, a soldier is revived with the superhuman ability to bring armies to their knees.

Ray Garrison’s (Vin Diesel) body is full of scars that tell the tales of his many deployments. His latest mission created a couple more, but it was a success. Unfortunately, a complication tracks him down while he’s vacationing with his wife and neither survive the confrontation. Yet, Garrison wakes up in a lab and is greeted by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and KT (Eiza González) who explain his body was donated to science by the U.S. military. In addition to resurrecting him, they’ve made some enhancements. They replaced Garrison’s blood with nanites that can repair all organic damage instantly, making him practically invincible and the greatest super soldier money can buy. But memories of his wife’s murder cause him to go rogue, using his new powers to hunt down the killer.

Based on the Valiant Comic series, this movie tells the story of a man who can sustain incredible damage and recover immediately. In addition, the tiny, insect-like processors turn him into a version of Neo that can access and retain all manner of information. Unsurprisingly, the scenes in which his nanites are triggered are the most interesting. From a distance they resemble a metallic liquid fused to his body, actively repairing damage in real-time and occasionally creating a red glow in his chest and eyes. Thus, gaping holes and missing limbs are swiftly rebuilt and immediately functional so he doesn’t have to miss a beat while in battle.

But as cool as all that sounds, the narrative is lacking emotion. None of the modified soldiers have much emotional range, making it difficult to gage when they’re being friendly, unpleasant or duplicitous. Perhaps this is meant to be a side effect of the experimental improvements or a necessity of their scheme, but it does little to engage viewers. In fact, the most engaging characters in the movie are two coders (Siddharth Dhananjay and Lamorne Morris) who have the most animated personalities and, consequently, provide the only source of humour. Everyone else walks around straight-faced, scowling and pretending to be human even though they’re still more flesh than machine.

The special effects are excellent and the action sequences are good with an original flavour due to their unique superhuman abilities, but that missing element means it all could’ve been much better.

Director: Dave Wilson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Eiza González and Guy Pearce

Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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