Sandwiched in-between his XxX, Riddick, and The Fast ‘n’ Furious franchises, Vin Diesel occasionally throws in some odd little movies like The Pacifier and The Last Witch Hunter, not to mention his one-sentence v/o work in the Guardians of the Galaxy. Here’s another throw-away paycheck role for him to have fun with.
In case you didn’t know, this movie is supposed to be the first in a long-line of future VCCU (Valiant Comics Cinematic Universe) films. Who are Valiant Comics? Well, think of them like the Marvel or DC Comics annoying little brother that always wants to play, but they just keep telling them to go get lost. Anyway, this story, a sorta melange of Universal Soldier, Upgrade, Source Code, and some Matrix thrown in, deals with a U.S. soldier named Ray Garrison (Diesel) who is having a very bad week. After completing a nasty mission abroad, he and his beautiful wife Gina (Talulah Riley) are taken hostage by the terrorist, Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell), and are both killed. Ouch!
BUT! Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), of some sinister clandestine operation in England, has a solution. His ‘wounded warrior’ program can give soldiers super-advanced replacements for legs, eyes, lungs, etc., and, in Ray’s case, he can resurrect the dead using nannites (microscopic robots) as blood to give this universal soldier super-strength (like Captain America), and instant healing (like a T-1000 Terminator), quick access to the internet, and mental upgrades. He’s introduced to his comrades, K.T. or Katie (Eiza Gonzalez), an assistant to Emil, blood-lusting Jimmy Dalton (Sam Hueghan) with enhanced legs, and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) with digital eyesight.
Dr. Emil plans on having Ray go on some missions for him, but Ray’s past memories come back to haunt him, and off he goes to find the bastard that killed his wife! The problem is, after going all John Wick on Martin Axe and killing a whole bunch of people, Ray doesn’t feel all that right. Could something be wrong with him or his programming? That’s where lovable and goofy super-programmer Wilfred Wigans (Lamorne Morris with a credible Cockney accent) comes into play. In a side-plot (that I won’t give away), he’s recruited to “fix” Ray to get him right and back on track.
Bloodshot was originally to be followed by (get this) four more movies, a Bloodshot sequel, and two more films based on the comic book series Harbinger, ending in a crossover film called Harbinger Wars. Wow! Talk about your grand plan! Well, after seeing THIS entry movie, I can tellya this, it ain’t gonna happen! This is NO MCU or DCEU, that’s for sure! The ridiculous and silly screenplay by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) and Eric Heisserer (Birdbox, Arrival) is rife with huge plot holes, tons of cliches, and totally ripping-off other movies, like giving Dalton extra “Doc Ock” arms to fight with! There are a few clever lines sprinkled here and there, but not enough to save this waste of film.
Oh, and then there’s the directorial debut of David S. F. Wilson, someone you can tell has never directed a Hollywood movie before. Ever. His IMDB page shows only two video minor credits, and they let him do this!? Yikes! His skill is seriously flawed on the action shots as they consist of nothing but smash-cuts, quick-edits, and all of them CLOSE UP! WTH??!! That is NOT how you shoot action shots!! Even kids with Iphones on YouTube have done better!! This guy have better go take some USC film classes and fast! Although the filmmaking is bad, and the story is weak, at least they actors are having some fun with it.
Diesel, with his usual grimace, growling, and gravely voice does a passable job here as the killing machine on a mission. Pearce, doing a retread of his Killian character from Iron Man 3 is good, and you got your standard bad guys as your standard bad guys. The ones that stand out, oddly enough, are the ensemble. Siddharth Dhananjay as Eric, the put-upon computer whiz-kid, is quite funny, but it’s Morris (from TV’s New Girl) that steals every scene he’s in with his kinetic energy. Gonzalez, apart from one single kick-ass scene, is wasted here and deserved better.
Universal Soldier (1992)
In the world of bad movies, this movie ranks right up there with the best of ’em… or should I say, WORST of them. Now you would think this being a terrible movie would end its bloodline, but no! It spawned not one, but FIVE dreadful sequels!! Yeah! And each one as awful as the next. But first, let’s talk about the original.
War is hell and in 1969 Vietnam nobody knew this better than private Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude VanDamme). He’s stumbled onto a scene of pure carnage; a village full of bodies wiped out by psychopathic Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren). Wearing (yuck!!) a necklace of human ears, Andrew and Luc shoot it out and end up killing each other. End of movie, right? Wrong! In a bizarre experiment we never see or know little about (’cause that would make sense), many dead soldiers are bagged, tagged, and whisked away and somehow resurrected from the dead. 25 years later we see these Universal Soldiers (who never age, apparently) being used by taking out some terrorists at some dam somewhere. You want vague, you got vague!
We also learn in bits ‘n’ pieces these soldiers, outfitted with Borg-like eye-pieces and electronically communicated with, are being controlled by UniSol commander Colonel Perry (Ed O’Ross). And hey, lookie here! It’s loony-tunes Andrew Scott, now called GR-13 and Luc Deveraux, called GR-44, who don’t know who they really are or what’s happened to them. Luckily there’s Veronica Roberts (Ally Walker), a nosy, but beautiful news reporter snooping around for a story. She gets more than she bargains for when GR-13 & GR-44 suddenly go bonkers for no reason (except for plot convenience) and go against their programming!
Scott/GR-13 regresses back to his ear-collecting psycho ways and Luc/GR-44 escapes with Veronica in tow as Scott wants to kill him… again! On the run, Veronica finds out she’s been framed for the death of her cameraman, plus this weirdo soldier that she’s with likes to get naked alot. Luc’s old memories are slowly coming back to him as he “just wants to go home”. Meanwhile, Veronica is sitting on a gold mine of story–if she can keep from getting arrested for murder, that is. After escaping a skirmish at a gas station with other UniSol’s, the pair track down Dr. Christopher Gregor (Jerry Orbach), the nutty professor who invented the UniSol program.
But, it’s a trap and they’re quickly arrested! However, being arrested isn’t going to stop crazed Scott as he attacks the car-convoy. Sure, he dies by going over a cliff in a huge armored vehicle, but he’s a UniSol, remember? Nothing stops this guy! He shows up later, totally unharmed, at Luc’s parents home and wants sweet, sweet revenge in an epic battle with Luc in the rain. If you get a chance, check out the special alternate ending which is not only better, but gives a nice little twist at the end.
This is one bad script alright, written by guys that have written all terrible screenplays. Dean Devlin (Independence Day: Insurgence, Geostorm), Christopher Leitch (three other Universal Soldier sequels), and Richard Rothstein (Hard To Hold, Invitation To Hell). Maybe they had a contest to see who could write the worst? This movie contains some of the stupidest dialogue, the dumbest action, and SO MANY plot holes I lost count! People say and do the most ridiculous things it’s mind boggling! Example: a doctor gives a UniSol a live grenade, in order to blow-up Scott, but the UniSol closes his hand too tight on the doctor’s hand. Does this intelligent doctor tell the UniSol to open his hand so he can escape? No! They just go BOOM together!! Dummy!!
Then you have gifted action director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Patriot) at the helm who’s trying to salvage this total mess with his explosions, shoot-outs, and fist-fights, which are pretty ordinary by today’s standards. The man usually does epics now, so this was early in his career when he did smaller films like Eye of the Storm and Moon 44. But even his deft hand can’t save this train-wreck as VanDamme sleepwalks through most of this movie, looking (and acting) practically catatonic. Same for Lundgren, who has some fun over-acting in the second act. Ally Walker is the comic relief, sorta-love interest, and is the only ‘alive’ person on the screen. Oh, that guy playing Luc’s father? That’s veteran actor Rance Howard, father of director/actor Ron Howard.