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‘Bloodshot’ would be better if it was worse

“Bloodshot” came so close. It was almost something special. Something memorable.
Not that it was anywhere close to good, but there’s this magic phenomenon when a movie is so badly-made, so incompetently put together, so unintentionally hilarious that it becomes something that’s so bad, it’s good. “Bloodshot” almost gets there but fails, instead of becoming the worst thing a movie can be: forgettable.
Adapted from the Valient comics character, “Bloodshot” tells the story of Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), a Marine who is abducted, murdered then brought back to life by biotechnology genius Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pierce). Now enhanced by nanobots that greatly increase his physical abilities and heal him when wounded, Ray sets out to find the guy who murdered his wife.
Unbeknownst to Ray, there’s even more to his situation than there appears to be. It will take the help of fellow reanimated fallen soldier KT (Eiza Gonzalez) to unravel the mystery surrounding Ray and get to the truth.
“Bloodshot” has a lot of failings that you find in many so-bad-it’s-good movies. The dialogue is painfully stilted and clunky. The story feels thrown together from bits of “Total Recall,” “Universal Soldier,” “The Matrix” and “The Six Million-Dollar Man.”
And then there’s Vin Diesel.
Diesel’s performance as Ray is uneven. We’re talking uneven the way a dirt road in the mountains is uneven after the snow first melts. He operates on one of three levels: his usual mumble-growl for normal dialogue, a roaring bellow for threatening the other characters and a whisper for when he really wants to make a point.
That’s all we get from Diesel and the transitions from one to another are abrupt and sometimes don’t make sense given what’s going on in the scene. When he has to emote, we get to see why it’s a good thing he’s an action star and not a dramatic actor. There are multiple times he very nearly goes so far over the top, it’s comedic. Unfortunately, he never quite gets there.
Laughs would really help this film, even unintentional ones. There are a couple of jokes that land but not nearly enough to balance the somberness of this movie’s tone. And as fun as watching Vin Diesel kicking bad-guy butt is, “Bloodshot” is so dour and takes itself so seriously, you’d think it was a Norwegian art film.
And the editing sucks. Here’s a hint: When tracking the progress of a convoy, don’t place the first shot that establishes the location of the scene in between shots of the said convoy on the move.
With all that bad, there are a few bright spots in “Bloodshot.” Pierce is great as Hartling, able to pull of being caring and reassuring in one scene then becoming menacing and evil when he needs to. I always like watching Gonzalez. The camera just loves her and her character in “Bloodshot” is more interesting than Diesel’s. There are some cool visual shots and while the action relies way too much on slow-motion, it’s still competently rendered.
Unfortunately, those highlights keep “Bloodshot” from becoming the guilty pleasure it should’ve been. It’s a forgettable, mediocre action flick that lacks enough sizzle and depth to keep you interested and if it was a little less competent, it might be more memorable.
2 Indy Fedoras out of 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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