How many of you are familiar with Valiant Comics? They were an independent comic book company that started in the 1990's and actually saw some decent success, and they were the first new brand that has been able to stay afloat while creating a cohesive universe. Companies like Darkhorse and Image all have independent, creator-owned stories, and most of the smaller comic book companies were bought up by DC and Marvel. Valiant has remained its own entity all of this time, which in this day in and age is pretty fantastic.
Now that Marvel has created a cinematic universe and DC has attempted one, it seems Valiant was ready to give it a try. They wanted to hit the ground running with their character called Bloodshot. Bloodshot is a former soldier who was thought to be dead, but then was injected with technological nanites that saved his life. The nanites now give him super-strength, stamina, healing abilities...you get the jist. Now Bloodshot, the former soldier tries to find out who did this to him and why. It's a simple set up for a comic book character and something that could be ripe for a springboard into another comic book universe on the screen.
Except, I am not sure a Valiant Cinematic Universe is going to fly. "Bloodshot" is a decent movie, but its not that cool. It has some eye-popping moments. That's about it. I am not surprised in the least that Vin Diesel is a producer on this movie. This feels like one of those bad movies he starred in throughout the 2000's when he wasn't busy making a "Fast and Furious" movie. It's a science fiction that is very cheap looking. This doesn't look like a superhero movie set, it looks like a CW superhero TV show set.
The movie is much like the comic book I described. Vin Diesel plays a former soldier who is killed, right after watching his wife killed. He wakes up in a scientific lab called Rising Spirit Tech, they put the nanites in his body that saved his life. They gave him superpowers. The soldier wants revenge on those who killed his wife. And he gets it pretty easily. But...we soon find the big twist, Rising Spirit Tech is using Bloodshot for their ends, and Bloodshot didn't actually get revenge on anybody.
The movie filled with several cliches. Bloodshot goes back to find his wife is still alive, and she has moved on and she has a family. Bloodshot is introduced to a team of other soldiers-turned-amateur-superheroes and of course one of them has a grudge against Bloodshot for no reason. A member of this team will suddenly grow a heart and conscience right when it is most convenient. There is several moments when you think Bloodshot is about to die...and no! It feels like about a dozen different movies you saw in the passed twenty or so years.
Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel. He's fine, but much like Schwarzenegger, he kind of gets by mostly based on his presence. Tobey Kebbell is a great actor, but he's not in this nearly enough. Guy Pierce is usually so good at playing the type of character he plays here, but I know he can do better. He's done better. Eiza Gonzalez is a pretty face, but she does things that any actress could do. She has a commanding presence, but she doesn't really bring much to the table. I am glad that she didn't end up being Catwoman for "The Batman."
The special effects are pretty average, it would have looked state-of-the-art for 1995. Like I said above, its a weirdly cheap looking experience. For how well superhero movies were pumped out in the 2010's, with still heart and soul intact, its seems a little weird to give this a pass. We've seen so many different types of comic book movies at this point, and we've seen several great superhero movies at this point. There is no reason why this shouldn't have been better. Much like the Dark Universe lasting one movie, its probably a good thing Sony didn't go ahead and get several big names to play other Valiant icons. This is probably the first and only time we'll see the Valiant Cinematic Universe onscreen.
FINAL GRADE: C