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Photograph: Graham Bartholomew

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

This derivative but fun Vin Diesel action movie has just self-awareness to dilute the bombast.

The first ten minutes of ‘Bloodshot’ show a British villain capering about to Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ while threatening to fridge the hero’s wife: you can’t help thinking this is the kind of movie that the opening credits of ‘Deadpool’ were making fun of. Fortunately, ‘Bloodshot’ develops a touch of self-effacing wit as it goes on – up to and including an explanation of why that scene seems so crassly generic.

Dispensing with all but a few names from the Valiant Comics series on which it is nominally based, ‘Bloodshot’ is a mélange of past thrillers and fantasies, from ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ to ‘Upgrade’ to ‘Memento’, and has the self-awareness to cast the last’s star, Guy Pearce. Styled to somewhat resemble David Cronenberg, Pearce plays Dr Emil Harting, head of an outfit called Rising Spirit Technologies that has upgraded gravely injured soldiers with super-science. In the case of Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), that means flooding Garrison’s bloodstream with nanotechnology that gives him enhanced strength and the ability to rapidly heal from the worst physical punishment. What he doesn’t have is any memory of his life before RST got ahold of him – until it starts glitching back into his psyche, impelling Garrison toward a personal mission to discover his past self, and who his real enemies are.

The plot twists sufficiently to keep modest interest, but the violence is often shot too close and cut too quickly to have much of an impact. Visual-effects-artist-turned-director David SF Wilson breaks out a nifty CG set piece here and there – there’s a particularly cool bit where Garrison’s blasted face reassembles itself – and stages a climactic brawl on a plummeting glass elevator with more brio and excitement than the action elsewhere. Diesel is dependable, if not especially challenged by a film that has most fun in the margins, as when the focus is on Lamorne Morris and Siddharth Dhananjay as a couple of eccentric computer wonks. They bring a sense of playfulness and some laugh-out-loud lines that leaven the mayhem and ensure your own eyes won’t go bloodshot watching this one.

Written by
Michael Gingold

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Wednesday 11 March 2020
  • Duration:109 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:David S. F. Wilson
  • Screenwriter:Eric Heisserer, Jeff Wadlow
  • Cast:
    • Vin Diesel
    • Guy Pearce
    • Toby Kebbell
    • Eiza González
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