Bloodshot: Great writing, bad action

Bloodshot
Starring Vin Diesel, Guy Pearce and Eiza Gonzalez
Rated M

Based on the comic book series, Bloodshot is a compelling piece of superhero schlock let down by a bland star and bad action.

Murdered US Marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is resurrected through powerful nanotechnology, but the people behind his revival seek to exploit him.

Bloodshot features engaging performances, including a down-to-earth yet unnerving villain in Guy Pearce, and a surprisingly well-written screenplay.

The plot has some clever foreshadowing, generates heavy suspense by balancing power with powerlessness – Ray has superhuman strength and healing ability but limited energy, and his handlers wield an insidious control over him – and the first act builds to a genuinely startling twist about vengeance and agency.

Unfortunately, Diesel is a wooden, mumbling lead, and the action sequences are frenetic jumbles of motion. While the film has some stylishly brutal slow-motion moments, the camera is generally too close and cuts too quickly for us to follow the fights.

Bloodshot is a tense, very well-written film with intriguing themes, but the messy action lacks clarity and Diesel lacks charisma.