For my money, any film that opens with a line like “Osama Bin Laden frequently had sex with a goat” has to be good. The wickedly funny, though blandly titled, “Bloodshot” just about lives up to the promise of this indelible opening line. Part-gore fest, part-comedy, part-what-the-(expletive deleted), “Bloodshot” is probably the first film I’ve ever seen that combines vampirism with post-9-11 terrorism hysteria. The joke is that even blood-sucking freaks aren’t as evil as box-cutter-wielding terrorist scum. But don’t be mislead, “Bloodshot” is far from any profound political statement. Instead, it’s fun and goofy and fiendishly over-the-top entertainment. And I really think writer/director Dietrich Johnston is on to something with this whole “government-backed assassination of terrorists by vampires” thing. If only that were real, that son-of-w***e Bin Laden would never stand a chance!
If “Bloodshot” has anything profound to say, it’s that a vampire makes an excellent assassin. Especially a vampire wielding uzis and cutlery. And especially when that vampire is played by the bald and brawny Michael Baily Smith, a veteran film and television actor whose credits include Undisputed, Men in Black II, and “Nash Bridges”. Smith plays an unnamed vampire who is unofficially commissioned by the C.I.A.’s Vampire Division (or V.D. for short, and yes, the film milks that joke for everything it’s worth) to hunt down and destroy terrorists. Smith’s a*s-kicking vampire, whose past hits include such infamous baddies as John Wilkes Booth, Jack the Ripper, and Joseph Mengela, takes orders from no one less than the enigmatic director of the V.D. himself (a wonderfully deadpan Deke Anderson). The director, in turn, answers directly to the President of the United States. Yup, this one goes right to the top.
This time, the vampire’s target is the notorious international criminal “Bob”, whose real name is so absurdly long it’s replaced by this much shorter moniker. The vampire must put an end to this nefarious man of many names, faces, and smells before he can realize his latest plot of mass murder and destruction: to blow up every 7-11 in the country and replace them with his own store “6-12”, which would specialize in such wholesome fare as salmonella burgers, anthrax slurpees, and estrogen doughnuts (for the cops, mwahh haa haa!). Standing in the vampire’s way of this madman however, is the tough-as-nails cop (Darrin Reed) who’s been doggedly pursuing him for months, much to the amusement of his fellow officers. He may be the laughing stock of his district, but when it comes to matching blows with a bloodsucker, there’s no one better than this bad a*s.
It’s nigh impossible not to laugh at things like a dynamite-carrying midget identified as the “secret weapon – 5,000 shipped” or a man who’s kicked so hard in the groin that his… errr, goolies come out his mouth. Trust me. It’s funny stuff. Mr. Johnston clearly has a healthy sense of humor, not to mention a certain skill with the medium. For the most part, he keeps things moving at a brisk pace, rarely allowing the jokes to lag. And if they ever do, he wisely cranks up the action through extended fisticuffs or shootouts. Oddly though, when considered in hindsight, the film feels more like a mid-season episode of some TV series than a self-contained film. Not that many TV stations would carry a show like this, but you just get to feeling like you might have missed an earlier episode or something. The reason might have something to do with the fact that precious few seconds in this 21-minute film are devoted to such trivial things “character development” or “plot”, but really, who cares? It’s funny and terrorists die, what more do you want?
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