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Why Bloodshot Kept Its Kobe Bryant Tribute

Vin Diesel in Bloodshot

Movies are a time capsule. They might contain specific references to modern events or simply be a product of their times. Sometimes movies age well, and sometimes not. It's impossible to know just how a movie will be received when time passes. But, in the case of Bloodshot, the world changed significantly in the time between when the movie was filmed and when it was released, which almost resulted in the removal of a reference to Kobe Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in January.

In the film, the character of hacker Wilfred Wigans played in the Vin Diesel-led action movie by actor Lamorne Morris, shouts the single word "Kobe" before shooting an improvised basketball. Morris tells THR, that, after Bryant's passing, there were some at the studio level who felt the moment should be cut from the film, but Morris argued that all the reasons some had to pull the scene were the reasons it should stay. According to Morris...

[The studio] said, ‘We’re watching it, and we’re all just so sad. We are so hurt by the tragedy, and we don’t want to remind people of that. I didn’t push back — I just said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think we should definitely honor Kobe that way, because that is what you do when you shoot a shot.’ Instantly, everybody said, ‘Yes, you’re 100 percent right.'

When the scene was filmed, it was a moment of the character referencing a retired player, one of the best to play the game. When it was seen, it became something of a tribute to the player who was no longer with us. Honestly, either way the scene makes sense. A lot of people shooting a basketball think of themselves as one of the greats, and nobody is going to think of Kobe any less just because he's no longer with us. Lamorne Morris says he did get a chance to see the film with an audience, and the "Kobe" reference was met positively rather than as a let down.

Of course, under the circumstances, whether that moment should have been kept or removed is much less important, considering we have no idea how many people have actually seen it. Bloodshot was one of the last new release films that hit theaters, and now it's only available as a 48-hour rental through digital platforms. No numbers have been released that give us any idea how many people are taking advantage of the option. There's been no precedent for this sort of a home release, so even if we knew how many people were paying the $19.99 price tag, there's nothing to compare it to outside of the handful of films that have seen a similar release.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.