A super-charged Vin Diesel proves unstoppable in the surprising VFX showcase ‘Bloodshot’

Face off: Vin Diesel stars as a soldier who can’t be killed in the sci-fi action film ‘Bloodshot’.

BLOODSHOT ***1/2 (109 minutes) M
The Coronavirus and a pretty savage critical reception might have conspired against Vin Diesel’s latest high-tech, FX-driven, sci-fi action outing but please don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.

In one of the niftiest non-Fast and Furious action films he’s made – yes, including The Pacifier – Vin plays a noble marine killed in action who is recharged back to life using some remarkable bio-technology developed by an ambitious rogue scientist (Guy Pearce, always great in these support roles).

The reborn Vin is now imbued with the power of instant regeneration; that is, if you shoot him his body will instantly repair itself right before your eyes. Why, even if you blow half the guy’s face off it’ll reconstitute itself before you can say “wow, these visual effects are amazing”.

And they are, thanks chiefly to the film’s many bullet-through-the-body sequences being staged in ultra-slow motion, Matrix-style.

And, boy, they’re beautiful. As often happens with really well-conceived VFX moments, a weird type of lyrical grace comes into being, as when the Sandman was created in Spider-man 3, or when the aliens zapped the White House in Independence Day.

But what of the story? Therein lies the film’s secret sauce.

One moment you think you’re watching a Michael Bay-esque chase thriller, next moment first-time director David Wilson – whose background in video game visual effects makes him a tight fit for this gig – dares to develop the story in a most unusual way. Kudos that a ballsy action film such as Bloodshot could pull off such a gear change.

The film is based on some comic book superhero known mainly to fanboys and there were plans for a franchise. Unfortunately, the shutdown of cinemas due to the Coronavirus killed off Bloodshot’s box-office hopes only two weeks into release.

The future of the long-planned film series being realized rests on whether the film’s early digital release will see its potential audience reconstitute itself in much the same manner as the film’s unkillable hero.

Whatever the case, it’s a terrific, unusual action pic. Even those cold on Vin should enjoy it.

Bloodshot is available on iTunes and Microsoft. Just beware, folks, of that hefty $24.99 price tag, which is a lot more than a full-price cinema ticket.