BLOODSHOT movie poster | ©2020 Sony Pictures

BLOODSHOT movie poster | ©2020 Sony Pictures

Rating: PG-13
Stars: Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Guy Pearce, Lamorne Morris, San Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Siddharth Dhananjay, Talulah Riley
Writers: Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer, story by Jeff Wadlow, based on the comics by Kevin VanHook & Bob Layton & Don Perlin
Director: Dave Wilson
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Release Date: March 13, 2020

BLOODSHOT is based on a comic book series by Kevin VanHook & Bob Layton & Don Perlin. At first glance, it looks like one of those Dolph Lundgren or Jean-Claude Van Damme techno sci-fi flicks that got a temporal update and a financial upgrade. While this isn’t an entirely wrong impression, BLOODSHOT is actually better than it appears at first glance.

We meet USAF soldier Ray Sullivan (Vin Diesel) as he single-handedly takes out a bunch of kidnappers in Mombasa and rescues their hostage. Then he comes home to his loving wife (Talulah Riley), but their joyful and scenic reunion is short-lived. Both are taken by the reprehensible Axe (Toby Kebbell), who is not only homicidal and sadistic, but also annoying (if you’re going to kill someone, don’t lip-synch at them first). Ray vows vengeance. Then Axe kills him.

Then Ray wakes up in the custody of scientific genius Hastings (Guy Pearce). Hastings introduces Ray to some of his other “patients,” other former members of the U.S. military’s finest, who have already been augmented with replacement limbs, or eyes, or lungs. Ray, however, is Hastings’s first full-on resurrection. The military, Hastings explains, turned Ray’s corpse over to this project. With nanobytes repairing every injury, no matter how large or small, Ray is now practically indestructible. He’s also extremely strong. However, Ray’s memory is extremely foggy. When he begins to remember, there’s no containing him …

And since all of this happens in the first quarter of BLOODSHOT, we wonder briefly if the movie is going to be much shorter than we expected. Well, no. There is a very large plot twist, followed by another. These factors, plus the fact that the script by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer has a good sense of humor, keep BLOODSHOT humming along.

Dave Wilson, a visual effects artist making his feature directing debut here, certainly knows his way around some striking body FX that are reminiscent of TERMINATOR 2 in their impact, without copying details. It’s visceral without being extremely gory, a neat trick.

Diesel puts forth a tortured man of action with sincerity. Pearce has plenty of authority and self-assurance as Hastings, Eiza Gonzalez conveys brooding danger as one of Ray’s fellow patients, and Sam Heughan appears to be having a blast as the recipient of bionic legs. Lamorne Morris is amusing as a high-level techie.

BLOODSHOT movie poster | ©2020 Sony Pictures

BLOODSHOT movie poster | ©2020 Sony Pictures

The action is plentiful and decent, which should satisfy hardcore fans of action flicks and/or Diesel. For everyone else, films like BLOODSHOT rise or fall on their details. This one is self-aware enough to admit where it’s borrowing, without going totally meta. It understands that we’ve all been to the movies before, and builds on what we know and expect. It moves fast, aims to entertain, and mostly succeeds. However, albeit this is a minor complaint, it’s a stretch to figure out exactly how the title BLOODSHOT applies to the project.

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