As always, Spoiler Alert.
Bloodshot was due to hit theatres right about the time that the first COVID lockdowns began. I was kind of disappointed when the theatres closed, and I wouldn’t be able to see it on the big screen. I mean, sure, the DVD release date was moved up to coincide with the theatrical release, and I have a decent enough home theatre set-up. But I still enjoy going out for a night at the movies, complete with overpriced popcorn and sticky floors. I only do it once or twice a year, and Bloodshot was a top choice for one of those rare outings.
See, I’ve got a huge schoolgirl crush on Vin Diesel and, with few exceptions, I enjoy his movies with a purity of feeling that I’ve rarely felt since I was of schoolgirl age. Seriously, no matter his tough-guy demeanor, the man is a teddy bear in human form. I didn’t develop my crush because he’s a big, heavily muscled, bald guy – although that’s certainly helped it along. No, it started when I saw him geeking out over Street Sharks toys.
I don’t normally buy movies on DVD if I haven’t already seen them, but it quickly became clear that with COVID, what was normal was going to change. I’d never have my chance to see Bloodshot in the theatre, so I bought it on disc.
It’s exactly what one would expect. Punches are thrown, guns are shot, and things blow up as Diesel actions his way through the film with his trademark stone face and wife beater. He plays Bloodshot, a nanite-powered super soldier whose memory is repeatedly wiped and then reprogrammed with his next target. Over time, he retains enough memories to put together the way in which he’s being used and manipulated.
And he doesn’t like it.
A lot of the movie’s visuals feel kinda borrowed. For example, when Bloodshot first learns of his enhanced strength, he tries it out on a heavy bag. He punches his way through it with one swing, in a moment that makes think of Steve Rogers training in Captain America: The First Avenger. Him fighting a group of mercenaries in slow motion reminded me of V’s final battle in V For Vendetta. When he’s shot in the face, the wound blowing apart and the cloud of nanites flowing back to repair the damage is reminiscent of Imhotep in The Mummy before he’s fully resurrected. And the mechanical arms worn by an adversary at the end of the film are a total take-off on General Grievous in this Star Wars fan’s eyes.
It’s The Matrix that seems to be the biggest inspiration, though. Not only is Bloodshot able to use the nanites to access computer networks to download information directly to his brain – although he downloads a Gulf Stream airplane manual, which is totally different from when Trinity learns how to fly a B212 helicopter – there’s also the ‘neural space’ in which he and the film’s villain, Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) have one of their confrontations. Originally a blank white void, to demonstrate how much control Harting exerts over Bloodshot’s very mind, the doctor populates it with an image of the seaside, and they continue their conversation standing on a dock.
Before the scene was over, I fully expected one of them to say they needed, “Guns. Lots of guns.”
Putting the sketchy degree of ‘inspirations’ aside, Bloodshot is a surprisingly thought provoking movie, raising questions about the ethics of human experimentation and the role corporations take. But it is, at its heart, an action flick, and the thinking never gets in the way of the explosions.
Bloodshot was intended to be the first in a series of movies, although with its lukewarm reception, goodness knows whether or not that will actually happen. Personally, I hope it does. The first one was a fun romp with one of my favourite actors, and I’d happily watch a sequel.
To see other posts in my venture to watch my movie collection in alphabetical(ish) order, click here.