Have any other actors been impacted as much by the coronavirus pandemic as Vin Diesel? I can rack my brain but can’t think of any. First Diesel had his latest instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise pushed back by twelve months and then his beer of choice took a massive hit because of the Corona name. But both those things really pale into insignificance when you consider what happened to Diesel’s latest release Bloodshot – the unfortunate film due to open the week that cinemas closed.
I have a lot of respect for Vin Diesel as an actor. Not because he is one of those actors who has the skills to play dramatic roles in between his action juggernauts, but because he is a man who becomes so passionate about a project, that he invests not only his money but also his heart and soul into making it happen. With Riddick, Diesel bought the franchise to make sure it continued and now he is also one of the main producers of the epic Fast & Furious saga, so he could keep some creative control over what happens to the characters that he loves so dearly.
It is the same with Bloodshot. A hardened comic book fan himself Diesel was more than aware of the Bloodshot comic book series created by, Valiant Comics. Drawn to the series as a fan, Diesel then melted my heart by declaring one of the reasons he got behind the film was because his son declared “Daddy, you are Bloodshot”, when he was considering playing the role.
I’ll admit, I was sold as soon as I heard about this film. One of my favourite action stars in a comic book film that was rumoured to have a pretty gruesome dark side. Then Covid-19 hit and Bloodshot became one of the biggest cinematic causalities of the fallout. With no media screenings on offer, I saw the film in a general session on its opening night and there was only myself and one other guy in the cinema – another tragic soul who was willing to risk the impending plague in order to get a Diesel fix.
Now, Bloodshot gets a second life in the cinemas and I can only pray that this time it gets a bigger audience as this is one action film that admittedly not only worked for me, but impressed me enough for me to want to see Bloodshot become a franchise. This isas long as they can fix up some of the issues I’ll list below.
For those who haven’t read the comics, Vin Diesel plays Ray Garrison, a soldier who while celebrating his latest successful mission is kidnapped alongside his wife Gina (Talulah Riley – Inception). He then suffers the heart-breaking trauma of watching her murdered in front of him and when he wakes, he learns that he was also murdered but has been re-animated as a super-solider in a program run by inventive scientist Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce – Memento).
And that is where I will leave the synopsis for Bloodshot because to say anything else would be going into spoiler territory and this is a film that you can’t have spoilt for you. I think the reason that Bloodshot worked so well for me is because I knew nothing about where the story was going to go. As a result, I sat there like a kid in a candy store as every twist and turn played out in front of me. Spectacular action aside, what impressed me the most about Bloodshot was the suspenseful storyline with plot twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.
Having said that though, there is a major flaw with this film. While Diesel is Bloodshot to a tee, Guy Pearce is horribly miscast as Harting. Actually, maybe that is a little unfair, because to be honest, I am not sure whether he was actually miscast or whether Pearce could have done something more with the character, had it been written as more than just a walking cliché.
That is the strange thing about this film. Bloodshot and KT (Eiza Gonzalez – Alita: Battle Angel) are brilliantly written and as a result, Diesel and Gonzalez shine. Sadly, most of the other characters are either under-written or are so one-dimensional that I had very little interest in them.
As an action film, Bloodshot does overcome its flaws with an unpredictable storyline and two leads that I felt led the way. Now I simply can’t wait to see if the franchise develops or whether the pandemic has put a dismal finale to it all.