Released in 2020, just before the world went into a frenzy, Bloodshot (2020) is the first live-action adaptation of the titular Valiant Comics superhero. Although intended to launch a shared cinematic universe of superhero films (like MCU and DCEU), the odds went against the launch of this competent but comparatively lesser-known comic series.
Debuting in the March of the infamous year, the film only spent a week in theatres (grossing nearly 37 million dollars against a budget of 45 million) before the pandemic hit the world. Another factor that militated against the film’s success was its spoiler-heavy trailer that literally spilled away the major plot twist in the narrative.
Despite its less-than-enthusiastic response, Bloodshot is a neatly done 2000’s styled superhero action flick that even takes jibes at the current superhero genre tropes. In this article, we examine the film’s ending and explain the twist introduced in the middle of the narrative. As always, here is a spoiler alert!
Bloodshot (2020) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:
Bloodshot opens in Mombasa, Kenya, where our protagonist Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel), takes up an operation to rescue a hostage from a group of insurgents. After Ray returns successfully from the mission, he meets up with his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley), and the two head to an Italian coastal town to celebrate. After spending a lovely romantic night with his wife, Ray wakes up to see that she has gone to get breakfast. Just as Ray is getting up, he is attacked by a group of terrorists and taken hostage inside a dark and dingy basement.
As Ray wakes up, he is introduced to the leader of the gang, Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell), who makes his classic villain entry dancing to the song “Psycho Killer.” Martin asks Ray to spill the name of the person who gave him a tip to kill the insurgents in Mombasa. He also brings in a kidnapped Gina to intimidate Ray into divulging any information. When Ray denies having any knowledge of the tip, Martin shoots Gina to death. A horrified Ray vows to kill Martin, leading the latter to kill Ray as well.
After his ‘death,’ Ray wakes up inside a laboratory with no memory of his name or self. He is soon greeted by Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) and his colleague KT (Eiza González), who welcome Ray inside the Rising Spirit Technologies Lab (RST). Harting tells Ray that he has been resurrected from death when his corpse was donated by the military to RST. KT also adds that since the military only gives away the bodies of soldiers who no one claims, it is apparent that Ray has no family left. Harting then leads Ray into the lab explaining RST’s pioneering research in rebuilding machinery and weapons for the U.S. military. While RST has devised several groundbreaking weapons, Ray is the first person they have been able to bring back to life.
Harting further explains that Ray has been brought back to life with the help of ‘nanites,’ which are biomechanical constructs. The nanites also give Ray the ability to self-heal after injuries, but they also need to be charged from time to time. Ray is then introduced to other members of RST who have benefitted from Harting’s research. KT, an ex-Navy swimmer in Syria, was met with a chemical attack that harmed her trachea—she has been given a new respirator which has rapidly improved her breathing. Next is Tibbs (Alex Hernandez), a marksman in Iraq whose lost vision has been radically altered with ocular prosthetics. And lastly, Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), a Navy Seal—who lost his feet in an attack and now works with mechanized robotic legs.
After spending a day at the facility, Ray realizes that he has superhuman strength—when he is easily able to put holes in walls through punches. Although elated by this new-found self, Ray still feels a vacuum due to having no vision of his past. At night, Ray bonds with KT, and the two share a drink. Suddenly, as the song “Psycho Killer” begins to play in the speaker, Ray is jolted back into his past—every vivid detail of his life (including the subsequent murder of his wife) begins to flash before his eyes. Raging with violence, Ray vows to finish Martin Axe, who had brutally killed his wife.
Ray leaves the facility, and with the help of advanced nanites in his brain, he is able to retrieve databases and track Martin’s location. Harting, who can talk to Ray via the microprocessors in his brain, warns Ray not to go ahead with this, but he ignores the warning. Getting a plane, Ray manages to reach Hungary in time—where Martin is escaping with an armed convoy. Martin seems visibly scared and worried, contrasting his earlier approach as a nonchalant cool villain. Before he can get away with his guards, Ray mauls his entire team of hired henchmen. A scared Martin appeals to Ray, telling him that he is being lied to, but a furious Ray shoots him to death.
After satiating his vengeful urge, Ray meets with KT, Dalton, and Tibbs, who escort him back to the lab to charge his nanites. As a tied Ray is being charged, Dalton appears and mocks him—Ray is seemingly confused by this eccentric behavior from the once-friendly Dalton. It is here that the film takes a one-eighty-degree turn, turning the concept of the typical vigilante narrative on its head. Dalton reveals that Ray is nothing but a toy puppet of the laboratory, where he is repeatedly used to carry out executions before having all his memories wiped off. While being under the impression that he is avenging his wife’s murder, Ray is being used as a minion by Dr. Harting to kill off people.
How Does Dr. Harting Manipulate Ray?
It is revealed that Dr. Harting had programmed memories inside Ray’s mind with the help of his programmer Eric (Siddharth Dhananjay). Hence, everything the viewers see at the beginning of the film is a simulation created to deceive Ray (and the audience). From Ray saving a hostage to being murdered by a psychopathic maniac—everything implanted inside Ray’s mind was but a story crafted by Harting and Eric, which they had lifted off genre films (the cliched trope of avenging wife’s murder being a recurring Hollywood fodder).
By planting these memories, Harting exploits Ray’s potential as a superhuman to kill off his enemies. It is further revealed that Martin Axe was not a terrorist but rather an old friend of Harting at RST. By superimposing his enemies’ faces on the fictionalized terrorist, Harting channels Ray’s rage against them, eliminating them one by one. Under the false manipulation that these fictional people are responsible for killing his wife—Ray goes to the extreme of murdering them before having his memories wiped out by Harting and his minions. KT, Dalton, and Tibbs are also under Harting’s command and follow a pre-written script to meet and greet Ray each time he wakes up afresh.
What Does Harting Plan Next?
With Martin out of his way, Harting next plans to execute another of his associate Nick Baris (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), who is in England. Repeating the same script—with Ray waking up, being introduced to everyone, and finally, his memory being instigated by playing “Psycho Killer,” Harting and his team provoke him to kill Baris.
Back in England, Baris, aware of Harting’s nefarious intentions, has abducted a genius coder, Wilfred Wigans (Lamorne Morris), to hack into Ray and de-charge him. But Wigans has plans of his own to escape from Baris’s grasp. He knowingly hands in a false remote to Baris to control Ray. When Ray arrives at Baris’s lair, he easily manages to kill Baris and his armed men. Just then, Wigans uses the real remote to incapacitate Ray.
When Ray wakes up, he has a surreal vision of several different men killing him and his wife. It is then that Wigans discloses that Ray had been manipulated by RST, who implanted false memories inside his head. Ray finally realizes Harting’s true intentions and decides to locate his wife to learn the truth about her. Before Ray leaves, Wigans promises to work on his genetic coding so that he can retrieve the code that would prevent Ray from being controlled by RST.
Does Ray’s ‘Wife’ Gina Exists?
Through the advanced database in his mind, Ray manages to locate Gina. Taking a vintage car (so that he is not tracked), Ray travels to Gina’s place in London. Gina is surprised to see Ray and hugs him. But when Ray tells her he is back ‘home,’ Gina is perplexed. She reveals to Ray that she is married, having moved on after their breakup five years ago. Ray is surprised to learn that he never married Gina, and their relationship has been over for over five years.
Ray realizes that Harting had cleverly used the image of his girlfriend Gina to substitute for his wife to create the perfect fantasy inside his mind. Further, it dawns upon Ray that Harting has been using his body and mind for over five years to murder people.
Bloodshot (2020) Ending, Explained:
How Does Ray Manage To Break Free of Harting and The Lab?
After meeting with Gina, Ray is attacked by Dalton and Tibbs, who, after a fierce chase, manage to subdue him and take him to the laboratory. Meanwhile, Harting orders KT to kill Wigans, considering him a threat. KT, who has had enough of Harting’s treachery, refuses to comply. Harting, who wields control over KT’s respirator, threatens to cut her oxygen supply if she does not follow his orders. KT has no choice and goes to finish Wigans.
After her departure, Harting hacks inside Ray’s brain—finally divulging his true intentions. Harting mentions that he chose Ray because he had already been a killer at war. Moreover, Harting justifies his manipulation, saying that he fed Ray the best version of his life—where he was a war hero and married his girlfriend. Ray is not pacified by Harting’s rhetoric, claiming that this simulation was not his life and that the best part about life lies in not knowing what’s coming. Before Ray can argue further, Harting shuts down Ray and proceeds to destabilize him by extracting all the nanites from Ray’s body.
KT returns and lies that Wigans got away. However, unbeknownst to Harting, KT has stealthily formed an alliance with Wigans so that he can hack Ray’s code and save him from Harting’s clutches. She makes her way inside Ray’s room and stops the computers meant to destabilize him. Following this, Wigans easily hacks into code and revives Ray. Harting is horrified at this and sends Dalton and Tibbs to finish him. Following a cutthroat battle, Ray manages to overpower both of them. While Tibbs loses control and falls down from the building, Ray punches Dalton to his death.
Aware that his plan has failed, Harting plans to escape in his car, although Ray manages to get hold of him. Harting warns Ray and shoots him with a special bullet, but Ray uses up all his charged nanites to heal himself, losing all of his superhuman ability in the process. Despite having been rendered powerless, Ray chooses to sacrifice himself by blowing up a grenade between him and Harting, killing both of them.
How Does Ray Come Back To Life?
Despite having been killed by the grenade, Ray wakes up sometimes later with all his memories intact. It is revealed that Wigans had managed to bring him back to life using an updated nanite technology which does not even require Ray to charge himself. KT apologizes to Ray for keeping with Harting’s plans, and they reconcile.
As the film ends, Ray, KT, and Wigans drive off into the sunset in a scenic location. Realizing this is a scene just out of Hollywood movies, Wigans jokes if this is another simulation—but before he can complete his question, the film cuts to the credits.
Is Bloodshot’s Story Over?
Although the film does not leave anything untied, a sequel to Bloodshot is already in development, with Diesel confirmed to reprise his role. This is surprising considering the lackluster box-office performance of the film and the varying critical reception. Nevertheless, this being the era of superhero cinematic universes, it is highly likely that this is not the last cinematic appearance of this Valiant comics superhero.