Based on a comic book, this Vin Diesel vehicle mashes up Universal Soldier and Memento (to the extent of casting Guy Pearce) while showcasing a shit-ton of effects work. The sort of film that would roll off a production line, it manages that Michael Crichton trick of being a paranoid technophobe vision but only possible thanks to misapplication of high-end computer science.
Ray Garrison, a US army covert ops hero type, is captured by caricature movie bad guy Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell, in what turns out to be the film’s cleverest performance) who does a shimmy to Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’ before executing Ray’s idealised blonde sexpot love interest (Talulah Riley) and then him. Ray wakes up amnesiac in a science facility run by metal-handed Dr Harting (Pearce), with nanites (depicted as tiny robot insects) for blood and all kinds of self-reassembling abilities plus super-WiFi so he can download manuals for flying jets straight into his brain and the usual Vin Diesel skills of walking into hails of bullets and taking out multiple bad guys while looking slightly constipated. I suppose the not-Ray character is called Bloodshot, but if that was mentioned in dialogue I missed it, and the film skips through introducing other augmented resurrectees who’ll follow guessable plot arcs. Possible new love interest KT (Eiza Gonzalez), who can breathe underwater but never has to in an action scene, and obvious rival Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), who has cyber-feet and later straps on Doc Ock extra arms (only two of them) to riff on Freddie Kruger’s scratching-walls bit.
Taking one drink makes Bloodshot remember his backstory and he hares off to get revenge … but the Martin he tracks down in a Hungarian underpass doesn’t seem entirely to be the Martin of the prologue. Spoiler: after the mission, Ray gets mindwiped and walked through the whole thing again, only with a new big bad (Johannes Hakur Johannesson) written into the program as a target … but this time the deep-down essential vindieseliness of the lead character starts to reassert itself, and a handy cyber-whizz comedy relief guy (Lamorne Morris) gets involved to set the hero free of the villain’s programming even though he’s barely got enough character for a video game avatar and we can’t help feeling a pullback to writers Jeff Wadlow (Fantasy Island, Cry_Wolf, Kick Ass 2) and Eric Heisserer (the wrong versions of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing, Bird Box, Lights Out) programming the script would reveal a hero equally trapped in a story from which the only escape is catastrophic Last Witch Hunter level box office failure that squashes any glint of a sequel. Directed by effects guy Dave Wilson.