Valiant enters the cinematic craze for comics with their first silver screen feature film bringing none other than BLOODSHOT to audiences everywhere. With Vin Diesel and Guy Pearce leading the charge alongside a remarkably strong supporting cast in Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan and Toby Kebell, Bloodshot proves to be a wildly exciting experience that will have both longtime fans and newcomers thrilled to the max.
Jumping right into the chaos, the film picks up on Ray Garrison’s life in the military and the surreal nature of his life in general before things take a dark turn and the sci-fi filled mystery really takes root. From here, the Bloodshot character takes the spotlight with Nanite charged action that is brutal, fast-paced and utterly relentless. As we travel from one exotic location to another, the film takes shape as both a sci-fi mystery and explosive action story that captures the true essence of what made the comics so incredibly popular.
What you won’t find in most reviews discussing Bloodshot is the relevance to Valiant’s comics and the impact that the industry has on cinema. Valiant is a powerhouse in comics, telling some of the most consistently great stories available and if there is one person who has a fundamental understanding of what made these books so great it’s former CEO and CCO of Valiant Entertainment, now turned Producer, Dinesh Shamdasani. The first-time director David S.F. Wilson did a wonderful job with some gorgeous cinematography from Bloodshot’s grotesque healing factor to the awesomely choreographed fight sequences. But there is an underlying comics-inspired mood that permeates every scene in Bloodshot and it’s difficult not to associate Dinesh’s involvement with this success. The team involved understands the character, what works with him and what doesn’t, and the film is all the better for it.
It isn’t perfect though. For all of it’s testosterone-fueled fun, Bloodshot does have some shortcomings in both its story and how it translates the character from the comics for the big screen. The pacing creates a flow that becomes burdened by exposition sorting through the high concepts at play and the character development sometimes takes a backseat. We feel for Ray, but we also question every single thing we discover about his simulated life which creates an interesting dynamic with how audiences engage with the story, but the film needed to explore that element more. Coupled with the insistence on using Vin Diesel outside of Bloodshot’s trademark pale white skin and red eyes, giving sparing yet still magnificent moments with the iconic look, the film does have its issues. While understandable, there is also a noticeable lack of any signification connection to the larger interconnected Valiant Universe with no appearance of other characters or even Psiots (think mutants) in general. For some, these are make-or-break elements and while the film does succeed remarkably well without them, it is worth bringing attention to.
Did it show a lot of the film in the trailers? Yes. Too much? I don’t believe so. As a fact of life, Hollywood is pushing more and more spoilers in trailers to get people in seats, but it has an odd impact on how we view the film in it’s entirety. The marketing for Bloodshot could have been improved, but the movie is out now. The marketing doesn’t have a bearing on the final version of the film and I believe they kept plenty of surprises in stores for audiences. The end result is an utterly badass experience that had me cheering for Bloodshot and desperate for more when the credits rolled.
Not only does Vin Diesel nail the role of Bloodshot with surprising tact and always-appropriate levels of brawn, the real stars of this movie are those around Bloodshot. Eiza Gonzalez heightens the tension as KT and Sam Heighan brings the pain as Dalton, helping to establish Rising Spirit Technologies as a force to be reckoned with. While this approach is different from the Project Rising Spirit we see in the comics, it does have a lot of similar aspects and essentially serves the same narrative point. With a surprise hit performance from Kebbell as Martin Axe bringing in well-placed humor and creating a highly enjoyable dynamic with Bloodshot, the cast carries this film even when the writing falls short.
Original Bloodshot creators Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton should be proud. This film represents the impact this character has had for both Valiant and fans all over the world, firmly cementing their work among the best that comics has to offer. For fans of the 2012 Valiant Entertainment relaunch, Bloodshot will feel right at home. All of the heart, intensity and overwhelming fun that fans have found in the comics can be found here as well. It’s a perfect movie to kick back with a gigantic bucket of popcorn and have an absolute blast of a time. Go see this movie and then head right over to your LCS to pick up all the awesome Bloodshot books Valiant has to offer.
You won’t regret it.
Though it has glaring differences, Bloodshot captures all of the heart, intensity and overwhelming fun the comics brought to the table while delivering a sci-fi filled mystery packed with explosive action that fans both new and longtime alike are sure to love.
Bloodshot (2020): I Always Come Home
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Acting - 9/109/10
Music - 8.5/108.5/10
Production - 9.5/109.5/10
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