Based on the titular Valiant Comics character, Bloodshot brings beefy killed-in-action marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) back to life with super strength and unique healing powers to undertake tailored assassinations.
Trouble is, not unlike RoboCop, he’s haunted by fragmented revenge-induced memories of his more human past, while the techno institute that regenerated him view him as nothing more than the ultimate killing machine.
Given these stakes and the potentially intriguing (if overly familiar) premise, it’s sad that there’s not much probing beneath the not-so-shiny surface of Bloodshot to distinguish it from comparable fare like Universal Soldier.
It’s not entirely the actors’ fault, however. Diesel portrays the conflicted programmable protagonist with typical (if unremarkable) gravel-voiced conviction, Eiza Gonzalez makes for a feisty enough female bionic counterpart, Sam Heughan impressively flexes his (robotic) feet and Guy Pearce adds some gravitas to shady scientist Dr Harting.
The problem is in the presentation; including the choice of DP Jacques Jouffret (who lensed The Purge series) predominately shooting everything in medium close up, in a distracting attempt to make events more intimate.
And it’s painfully clear VFX pro-turned-debutant director Dave Wilson comes with a background better suited to CGI. He excels at microscopic details like the crawling insectoid ‘Nanites’ repairing Garrison’s damaged cells, but lacks any real conviction of letting live action pop out of the screen imaginatively, despite plenty of kinetic activity on display.
Nevertheless, if you’re up for a cheesy fun, throwaway sci-fi actioner then Bloodshot is serviceable, with enough twists, turns and comedic IT nerds to liven up proceedings. There’s also an exciting climatic elevator scrap that could have been pulled straight out of a Marvel movie.
It’s just a pity that it all feels like a seen-it-all-before bionic spin-off that doesn’t have the confidence to morph into its own uniquely regenerated creation.
Bloodshot is out now on 4k UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and also available to download and keep.