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film review

Vin Diesel in a scene from Bloodshot.GRAHAM BARTHOLOMEW/Sony Pictures

  • Bloodshot
  • Directed by Dave Wilson
  • Written by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer
  • Starring Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez and Guy Pearce
  • Classification PG; 109 minutes

Rating:

1.5 out of 4 stars

The wannabe franchise Bloodshot is like a lot of other Vin Diesel series. So much so that you can count the ways by the minute.

At three minutes into director Dave Wilson’s new action film, we get our first shot of Diesel rocking a white tank top, his muscles bulged just so. At three minutes and 30 seconds, we witness our first instance of some steamy postcoital Diesel action, with a woman’s legs wrapped around the actor as if her life depended on his finely sculpted torso, her body perfectly positioned to remind us of what tremendous romantic prowess this man must possess. Five minutes in, we’re gifted with one of many unique Diesel line-readings, one in which it appears that the actor’s mouth is doing epic battle with his mind to conjure the words that are on that day’s pages (“You don’t like my scars” is what was scripted, but it tumbles out of Diesel’s precious maw sounding like, “You don’t like mahhhh scaaahhhz.”)

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It takes slightly longer – longer than it ever should in cinéma du Diesel – for our leading man to defy the laws of physics. But when the moment does arrive (approximately 33 minutes in), Bloodshot begins to feel like a full, comforting mug of warm stupid. Unfortunately, that scene – in which the film’s bioengineered hero, whose name I guarantee you won’t remember, treats an armoured car like a pesky recycling bin – also marks the moment that Bloodshot crosses the line from merry Diesel idiocy to dull Diesel nothingness.

Diesel’s Fast & Furious movies have heart. His Riddick movies have weirdness. His XXX entries have lunacy. (Can we pause to admire how many franchises this man has to his name?) Bloodshot, though, only offers mere generic mediocrity.

Bloodshot is based on a comic-book series.GRAHAM BARTHOLOMEW/Sony Pictures

You’ve seen the film’s hero-rebuilt-by-technology plot before – even if you’re not familiar with the comic-book series it’s based on – and you’ve seen its incredibly choppy onscreen action, too. Its supporting characters who aren’t worth a damn? You’ll remember those, as well. And its many plot devices, from nano-bot-something-something-whatever tech to the appearance, yet again, of an electronic magnetic pulse machine, easily the most overused bad-guy gadget in 21st-century cinema history. It is all achingly familiar.

Which must be hard for Diesel, the poor guy. As Wilson’s film drones on – oh yeah, drones are involved here, too, in case anyone was yearning to see more of those in contemporary action films – you get the sense that Diesel just wanted to show sometimes co-star Dwayne Johnson how much sterner stuff he’s built on. After all, in the eighth Fast & Furious film, Johnson hand-guided a missile. Toward the end of Bloodshot, Diesel gets to stop a rocket-launched grenade with his bare hands. It happens at about the 100-minute mark. I know this, because there is not much else to do while watching Bloodshot – other than tally the minutes.

Bloodshot opens March 13

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