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SYFY WIRE reviews

Is Bloodshot a shot in the arm to Valiant's cinematic universe? Critics weigh in

By Josh Weiss
Vin Diesel Bloodshot

Looks like the Valiant Cinematic Universe might be off to a rocky start.

The first reviews for Sony's Bloodshot movie (in theaters this Friday) are now online, and despite being impressed with a wild twist at the end of the first act, critics don't find the movie (directed by VFX vet Dave Wilson) a very strong start in what the studio surely hopes is a rich franchise. It currently holds a 40 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Based on the character created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton, the comic book film centers on Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), a battle-hardened soldier who gets killed and wakes up as an un-killable murder machine capable of self-healing (a la Wolverine). Determined to get revenge on the man who killed his wife (Talulah Riley), Ray must also deal with the fact that he's been brainwashed and manipulated by the people who gave him immortality.

Written by Jeff Wadlow (Fantasy Island) and Eric Heisserer (Bird Box), the movie co-stars Guy Pearce, Eiza Gonzalez, Lamorne Morris, Alex Hernandez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, and Johannes Haukur Johannesson.

Initiate sequence and find out what critics are saying, below...

"Diesel tackles this unremarkable storyline with his usual gusto, grunting and flexing his way through successively more intense action scenes. In keeping with his frequently taciturn characters, he doesn’t have much to say, but he kicks a lot of ass, particularly in a couple of impressive set pieces that see him taking out a variety of heavily armed or technologically enhanced baddies." -Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

Bloodshot runs out of meta tricks before it is over, and David S.F. Wilson, who borrows his visual vocabulary from Tony Scott and Michael Bay, delivers action sequences with such choppy continuity that viewers may be as confused as Ray." -Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

"Of course, no one is about to steal this movie from Vin Diesel, who gives a ferociously committed pummeling-his-way-out-of-the-virtual-mirage performance ... His combat moves are lithe and fierce, fusing brains and brawn; the climactic sequence, a duel on a skyscraper’s exoskeletal elevator, earns every rousing moment. Bloodshot is a trash compactor of a comic-book film, but it’s smart trash, an action matrix that’s fun to plug into." -Owen Gleiberman, Variety

"Without giving the whole thing away, I can say Bloodshot consciously made the decision to start off as a mid-aughts cliche factory on purpose. It’s a gutsy move I certainly didn’t expect from a Vin Diesel-led blockbuster and one that elevates Bloodshot, at the very least, from a safe comic-book bunt to an interesting swing for the fences." -Vinnie Mancuso, Collider

"No matter how interesting Bloodshot starts off being, the film eventually caves to a barrage of ludicrous plot turns that muddy almost every character motivation, as well as a series of terrible-looking CGI fights ... I’m afraid that the series won’t share the rise-from-the-dead powers of its titular character, and will slowly bleed out at the box office and the multiplex in due time." -Sean O'Connell, CinemaBlend

"First-time feature filmmaker Dave Wilson and cinematographer Jacques Jouffret can manipulate the speed of combat scenes all he wants (the stylistic crutch of a slo-mo point of contact is evergreen) but dull choreography, CGI overuse and Cuisinart editing are still the bane of today’s action sequences." -Robert Abele, TheWrap

"The story of Bloodshot capitalizes on the audience's knowledge of superhero movie conventions and tropes in order to deliver a second act twist that most won't see coming ... But for those on the fence about catching Bloodshot in theaters, it's not necessary viewing (though it's still worthy of checking out after its home release). It's not an exceptional superhero movie, but it's not terrible either; it falls somewhere in the middle." -Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

"The plot feels familiar. The dialogue is lame and obvious. As an actor, Diesel has, like his Groot character in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, only one emotional setting: growl. And the action, save for some moderately cool slow-motion shots and a protracted fight sequence that takes place in a glassed-in elevator shaft, is for the most part murky, chaotic and as hard to follow as it is to care about the outcome." -Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post

"If it were a better movie, Bloodshot would have taken the inherent blandness of its globetrotting vengeance tale, turning those tropes on their head for a more refreshing action experience. To his credit, director Dave Wilson (collaborating with Fantasy Island screenwriter Jeff Wadlow and Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer) attempts to do this very thing ... There’s also not much here to make up for Bloodshot utterly failing at its admittedly cool premise." -Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth