When you see a trailer for a movie based on a book, how do you react? I usually have one of three possible responses. If the movie is based on a book I loved, my reaction will either be, “I can’t wait to see that!” or “Oh no! They’re going to ruin it!” But when I haven’t read the book, my first thought is usually, “I need to get that book and read it before the movie comes out!”
That third reaction was my response to seeing the trailer for Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel.
While there were several Bloodshot comic books for me to choose from, I decided to go with the Bloodshot: Definitive Edition comic book, which combines the first fourteen Bloodshot comic books (#1-13, and #0) created by authors Duane Swierczynski and Matt Kindt, as well as several amazing artists.
Bloodshot is about a soldier whose body is enhanced with healing nanites, which basically make him an unstoppable killing machine. While on a mission to rescue a captured soldier, Bloodshot is captured by a man named Kuretich, who reveals that he has been brainwashed by an organization called Project Rising Spirit, given false memories of a life that never happened, and sent out to do the company’s dirty work for them. While much of the comic book focuses on Bloodshot’s reaction to what Project Rising Spirit has done to him, the main character also finds himself dealing with a group of children and teenagers who have extraordinary powers.
The comic book is fast-paced and action-packed, with some surprising moments and a high body count. It is a very graphic book in relation to both the amount of violence, and the way in which the results of that violence are drawn. Ultimately, I would say that the Bloodshot: Definitive Edition comic book is comparable to an episode of Game of Thrones, with respect to its overall level of carnage.
Despite the violence, I actually really enjoyed the comic book. It was very nice to be able to read a complete story line in a single volume, without having to wait on additional books to be released, and I felt like I got a very good sense of the character by the time I had finished reading. The artwork itself is incredible, and I often found myself pausing in my reading to spend time just admiring the art.
After finishing the comic book, I was super excited to have the opportunity to see the movie while it was in theaters…and then Covid-19 happened.
I ultimately decided not to risk going to the movie theater to see Bloodshot when it was released back in March, even before the Stay At Home order went into effect, and resigned myself to waiting for the Blu-Ray release. The movie came out on Blu-Ray just last week, and I finally got the chance to see it.
The movie really functions as an origin story, focusing primarily on Bloodshot’s creation (and subsequent manipulation) by RST (Rising Spirit Technologies), and does not deal with the additional plotlines introduced in the comic book. Even though the focus of the movie was somewhat different, I felt like it was actually a really solid introduction to the character and was faithful to the overall spirit of the comic book.
Vin Diesel plays the title character, and the filmmakers could not have chosen a more appropriate actor to fill the role. Not only is he a very good physical match for the character, but he also does a great job of portraying the mental and emotional struggles Bloodshot undergoes as he comes to terms with the “realities” of his new life.
Bloodshot is a fast-paced, action-oriented movie, with a lot of impressive action sequences and special effects. The stunt work is incredible, particularly during the tunnel sequence (You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about if you watch the movie…). Even though it was full of action and fight scenes, the movie was considerably less violent than the comic book. While Bloodshot does rack up a fairly impressive body count, the gore factor is considerably lower, earning the movie a PG-13 rating instead of the R rating I initially anticipated. The movie does contain a few sexual situations and innuendos, and a small amount of profanity as well.
The Blu-Ray itself is a little sparse when it comes to special features, which I did find disappointing. There are a few interesting behind-the-scenes videos about the characters and creation of the movie that I highly recommend taking the time to watch (as well as a blooper reel, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending), but I was really hoping for more videos that focused on the stunt work and special effects. I also have to admit that I did not find any of the bloopers particularly funny. But to be fair, I can be hard to please when it comes to outtakes.
Ultimately, while the movie is somewhat different from the comic book, I felt like it was well worth taking the time to watch. I really enjoyed the characters and story, and felt like the movie was very well done.
I usually find that I prefer either the book or movie after watching an adaptation, but this is one time when I really don’t have a preference. I am glad that I took the time to read the comic book before the movie came out though. It gave me a better appreciation for the level of work that went into making the movie feel not only like the comic book, but also scientifically plausible in a real world setting.
If you have the opportunity to read and/or watch Bloodshot, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!