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What The Rotten Tomatoes Reviews Are Saying About Bloodshot

The verdict is in on the latest action-packed foray into the world of science fiction superheroes. 

Bloodshot is Sony's latest attempt to bring a best-selling comic book hero to life on the big screen, and unfortunately, it sounds like even a heaping shot of military-grade nanotechnology straight into the bloodstream couldn't elevate this story to combat-ready status.

The flick stars Vin Diesel as the titular hero, alongside Eiza González (Alita: Battle Angel) and Sam Heughan (Outlander). The film tells the story of Ray Garrison, a resurrected super-soldier with a swarm of nanotechnology pumping through his veins. Based on the long-running comic series from Valiant Entertainment, Bloodshot is a clear attempt by Sony to capitalize on one of the few remaining superhero properties yet to make a splash at the box office — but it sounds like Bloodshot is a little heavy on the "super" and light on the "hero". Without a compelling central character to drive the plot forward, critics are giving this shoot-em-up action flick a near-unanimous thumbs down.

Critics think Vin Diesel's Bloodshot should have stayed dead

A.V. Club's A.A. Dowd struggled to care about Diesel's tragic portrayal of the flick's title character. "If Bloodshot honestly expects us to invest in the tragedy of Ray's predicament — his transformation into a mind-wiped army of one — Diesel isn't up to the task," he wrote, opining that without a compelling lead character to root for, he found it difficult to invest in the stakes of the film. He even opened his review with a rhetorical question aimed squarely at the leading man: "Does every A-list action idol eventually reach the point in their career where their vehicles start to look like career commentaries?" Yeesh.

James Mottram of the South China Morning Post agreed that the lead character's failure to capture the audience's empathy was at the core of Bloodshot's failings. "The Fast and The Furious star [has] his off days, and this derivative sci-fi is one of them," he wrote. "His turn as Ray Garrison, a soldier who gets rebuilt RoboCop-style after he's murdered, is about as one-note as they come. All muscles and mumbles, and not much up top." Though Mottram admitted the visual effects were impressive, in his estimation, they weren't enough to overcome the flat characters and hackneyed story. "Bloodshot is short of ideas, playing with such cliché-riddled themes [as] choosing who you want to be in life. Avoid."

Even Diesel's cheerleaders had other issues with the film

Even the critics who were on board for Diesel's portrayal didn't think the movie ever came together in a satisfying way. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, veteran critic Katie Walsh skated right up to the line of being complimentary in the most backhanded way, calling Bloodshot "A bewildering piece of good-bad sci-fi action trash." SuperHeroHype's Luke Y. Thompson found Diesel's performance serviceable, but opined that the action star can be better: "Even at the worst of times, Diesel doing his thing is fun," he wrote. "But because we've all seen him be Groot, we know he can do more." 

Allison Skornick-Rose of Flick Direct complimented Diesel's action star bona fides, but agreed that Bloodshot didn't offer him an opportunity to rise to the level of his natural charisma. "There is no doubt that Vin Diesel is an action star and he showcases this talent throughout the film," she wrote. "While the action is fast and extremely well done, the script and plot are rather generic. There isn't anything special or unique."

Others didn't find anything positive to grasp onto. The Houston Chronicle's Cary Darling thought the only redeeming feature was the soundtrack: "When the best thing about an action movie is its use of a great but 43-year-old Talking Heads song, you know you're in trouble," he deadpanned. As if that weren't harsh enough, critic-at-large Jeremy Jahns delivered perhaps the most damning indictment, encapsulating the film's failings in one simple comparison: "It's essentially RoboCop, but also worse than the remake of RoboCop." Ouch.

Bloodshot still has a few defenders

It isn't all rotten news for Bloodshot. The New York Times' Ben Kenigsberg had positive things to say both about Diesel and the use of humor in the film's ample action sequences, writing, "Diesel strikes the right balance of contemplation and meatheadedness...[Director David S.F. Wilson] deserves bonus points for embracing silliness: One car crash involves a truck filled with flour."

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle was similarly complimentary. Though he clearly doesn't think Bloodshot will be in the running for any Oscars, he found the film "a lively and amiably stupid action movie, given an extra dose of atmosphere by the presence of Vin Diesel." Rafer Guzman of Newsday largely agreed with LaSalle's assessment, adding that, "If Vin Diesel were a 12-year-old boy, he couldn't have dreamt up a better movie for his fan base than Bloodshot." That might sound backhanded, but after twenty years of Fast and Furious flicks sprinkled with a few Riddick films here and there, fans must certainly know what they're signing up for when they go to see a Vin Diesel movie, and it isn't high art.

Bloodshot is set to premiere on March 13th.