‘Bloodshot’: Tech makes Vin Diesel a new man doing the same old stuff

Convoluted superhero story is bursting with headache-inducing, rapid-cut action sequences.

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Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce, left) brings the mortally wounded Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) back to life with superpowers in “Bloodshot.”

Columbia Pictures

You can’t stop Bloodshot, you can only hope to contain him.

Your knives and bullets and grenades and speeding trucks will slow him down, but he’ll just keep coming until he has settled that score, righted that wrong, avenged that injustice.

In fact, there might be only one thing on this Earth that can stop Bloodshot — and that’s the screenplay for “Bloodshot.”



Sony Pictures presents a film directed by David S. F. Wilson and written by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence, some suggestive material and language). Running time: 109 minutes. Opens Thursday at local theaters.

Yep, that did the trick.

Frantically overcooked, bursting with headache-inducing, rapid-cut action sequences and only half as clever as it fancies itself, “Bloodshot” is an ambitious and intermittently entertaining minor-league superhero film, with Vin Diesel grunting and grimacing his way through the title role while the supporting players around him are saddled with playing overly familiar, cliché-riddled stock types.

Kudos to director David S. F. Wilson and writers Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer for occasionally having a character actually remark on certain hackneyed elements of the plot — but far more often, everyone is just going through the motions as the story becomes ever more convoluted and ever less worthy of our emotional investment.

There is a moment in “Bloodshot” when Vin Diesel and a psycho bad guy are duking out in slow motion. (I don’t want to spoil certain plot developments by naming the other actor.) This gives them both the opportunity to overact.

In slow motion.

Diesel is squarely in his narrow comfort zone as Ray Garrison, a badass Marine who has accumulated some horrific scars on various tours of duty — but Ray always manages to come home to his adoring wife Gina (Talulah Riley). That’s what he tells her when she embraces him in sun-dappled shots right out of a Michael Bay movie.

But then one night, the obligatory squad of mercenaries ambushes Ray and Gian, and they’re both assassinated.

Or are they?

Ray wakes up in one of those sleek, high-tech, multi-story, super-secret labs we see in the movies. Thanks to the genius Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and his team of technicians, Ray has been brought back to life via super-powerful nanites injected into what was once his bloodstream (hence the name Bloodshot).

But wait, there’s more! Ray is now super-strong and has the power to immediately rejuvenate, sort of like the cyborg in “Terminator 2.” Ah, but he’s lost his memory and he’s forced to keep on living the same day (with certain variations) over and over again, like Drew Barrymore in “50 First Dates.”

Sucks to be Ray.

Pearce’s Dr. Harting is a sadistic genius who has grand plans to weaponize his creations. (Never heard that one before.) Oh, and he has a titanium arm that includes the most advanced remote control you’ve ever seen. Just by pushing a few buttons on his magic arm, Harting can find Ray anywhere in the world, or close the breathing apparatus keeping alive Eiza Gonzalez’s K.T., who we’re told is a “former NAVY swimmer” and is getting too close — too close, I tell ya! — to Ray.

If Dr. Harting ever lost THAT remote, boy would he be ticked.

“Bloodshot” has a pretty nifty twist about halfway through, but then it’s back to the bombastic sermonizing from Dr. Harting, who has a serious case of God Complex after bringing Ray back to life, followed by yet another effects-laden, quick-cut, loud and amazingly uninvolving action sequence.

By the time our man/machine finds himself in the time-honored pickle of dangling by one hand from a ledge 50 stories above the ground, “Bloodshot” has already given us an action movie hangover.

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