- Katie Bell
Updated: May 2, 2020
Before walking into Bloodshot, the Inconceivable! Reviews team gathered at #starbucks and ordered a variety of delightful beverages. We then engaged in a lengthy conversation about the correct spelling of names on cups (or lack thereof) and how for the most part, we didn't care what we received. I then, of course, began to monologue about the way in which I mispronounce my own name, causing the misspellings myself (e.g. Cady, KD, Kadie etc). Thirty minutes later, we find ourselves watching Bloodshot and the character KT (Eiza Gonzalez) introduces herself. "Katie?" Vin Diesel asks. "No", KT replies, "the initials KT". This is never referred to again, or explained, which makes me think that it was included by the Bloodshot writers solely because they knew about the conversation that we would have outside that Starbucks...and they wanted us to know that they were watching...
Paranoia about Jeff Wadlow's eavesdropping aside, this film is about Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) and his big muscles. Basically, Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) uses science to make Ray's muscles bigger, stronger, and more invincible than ever before. Then he uses science to wipe Ray's memory, and re-program it, essentially inciting Ray to enact revenge upon a variety of assassination targets that Dr. Harting doesn't like (for reasons I won't include here, due to them being spoiler-y). Now, I know you're wondering how all of this #science works, and honestly, I'm probably not the most qualified person to explain it, but I'll do my best. Basically, Ray has a bunch of science bugs in his blood (if we want to get technical, it's nanotechnology). Although later he is told that they "are his blood" - I don't know if this is a joke or not. Regardless, these bugs are super powerful. They connect him with all of the tech and computers at the RST headquarters, and allow him to locate targets, and download aeroplane instruction manuals, into his own brain. Additionally, they heal him when he gets shot/stabbed/injured etc. It's pretty fabulous; bits of his body are blown apart and the science bugs act like magnets and join him back together again (if only Humpty Dumpty had the same science bugs installed).
Unfortunately, more time probably needed to be spent unpacking the nanotech/science bugs lore. Despite the fact that these bugs appear to be magnetically attracted to Ray's body throughout most of the film, at one point he's able to cut himself and pour a bunch of the bugs into a cup for #science. I'm not sure how. Maybe he wills it so. Maybe the bugs in his hand, listen to the bugs in his brain, and agree to take one for the team. It's probably best not to ask too many more questions...Then there is KT. She was in an accident prior to the events of the film, and had to have a breathing hole installed in her upper chest. She therefore cannot breathe through her mouth. This is established on several occasions, but is solidified when Dr. Harting cuts off her breathing hole using his remote control arm, and she drops to the ground - her oxygen supply cut off. Despite the fact that she clearly appears to breathe through this chest hole, later in the film, she lights a cigarette using her mouth, then breathes in the smoke and puffs it out again. I don't mean to be a pessimist, but if she can't breathe through her mouth, surely she doesn't have the ability to smoke a cigarette through her mouth? But then, who knows?
If you like action sequences, and you're willing to accept all of the #science at face value, then this may just be the film for you. The action sequences certainly look cool. They aren't always practical, but they certainly appear aesthetically interesting. First of all, there are at least two occasions in this film where "cool guys walk away from explosions". Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan) even gives the explosion a Wiggles finger gun before walking away. Classic! Cannot go wrong! Then there is a fight sequence in a tunnel. A flour truck crashes and there is flour everywhere. Additionally a bunch of red flares are ignited for visibility reasons, whilst slow motion is used for coolness reasons. The outcome is a bunch of close up shots of Vin Diesel's face, which is illuminated red because of the flare guns. Following this, there are a series of slow motion close ups, of Vin Diesel hitting and kicking various targets and flour flying everywhere dramatically and in slow motion. It certainly looks aesthetically pleasing, but I couldn't help but think to myself, "the only reason that's there, is because it looks cool". Later in the script, before more explosions, more red flares are used, so that a close up shot of KT's illuminated red face can be shown. Red is my favourite colour, but after the first time, the coolness of the illuminated red face in a close up, definitely dissipates.
Whilst the fight scenes have obviously been planned out, and do end up looking pretty awesome, I think some of the characters could have been thought through a little more. Take Ray: whilst the bugs in his head are intelligent enough to "cross-reference" several databases, and use satellites to find a convoy of cars, and therefore his target, they also allow him to repeatedly throw unnecessary punches at a concrete pole, which undoubtedly causes structural damage to the building he is in. Super smart, but also incredibly stupid. There are also plenty of classic Vin Diesel moments, e.g. he arrives back to base after completing his military mission, and gets his rig out unnecessarily to hug his wife. At least leave your outer shirt on until you get home, Vin Diesel. Don't run around at work in a wife beater; it's inappropriate and unprofessional. Finally, Ray texts in the same style as my Mum. I get it, Vin Diesel and my Mum were born two years apart; it's normal for people that age to text with one finger. However, unlike my Mum, Ray has nanotechnology installed in his fingers. Surely he can type with two hands! Anyway, moving on from Ray, Jimmy establishes his status as a villain almost from the first scene that he appears in. He is villainous, because he has villainous gum habits. End. Of. Story. Jimmy leaves his gum under benches, on his own shoes (why?) and even just spits it on the ground randomly. Only a true bad guy would engage in such behaviours. So, in a way, this is a great method of establishing his villain status. His stupidity status, on the other hand, is established late in the film, when he utters the following about Ray: "This guy just won't f**king die". OBVIOUSLY, JIMMY! His body is full of nanotechnology, which you helped to maintain. How did you forget that, Jimmy? There are a few characters that seem to be intelligent from start to finish, but most have moments of full-blown stupidity that are at times, hard to get past.
Unbelievably, between all of the fight scenes and nano-technology scenes, there are several opportunities for corny lines. I'm not lying. Bloodshot (2020) gifts us with lines such as, "Who we were, doesn't have to define who we're gonna be," and, "Life is about not knowing what is coming". So maybe if you want some insightful corniness about living your best life, this is the film for you! This was not the film for me. I tried really hard to invest in this movie, but at every turn I found a plot-point that I just couldn't get over, or a character that just wasn't developed enough. It did manage to put me off Sam Heughan for a bit...but probably only until I watch the next episode of Outlander (there's no gum in the 1700s that I'm aware of). I will say this, I saw this film in 4DX at Event Cinemas, and at one point, when Ray and wife Gina are driving along the coast of Italy, with the wind blowing through their hair, the fans in the cinema began to blow my hair and I felt very glamorous. That moment passed quickly though, and unfortunately the rest of the film left a fair bit to be desired.