WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
DIRECTOR: David Leitch
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Bad Bunny, Zazie Beets, Joey King, Logan Lerman, Andrew Koji, Michael Shannon … And three special players in small but entertaining roles
WEB SITE: https://www.bullettrainmovie.com/
THE BACK STORY: An Americanized re-envision of the 1975 Japanese film of the same name, Bullet Train stars Brad Pitt as Ladbybug. Ladybug, of course, is a fake name, one given to Pitt’s character by his employer, a mysterious voice on the other end of a cell phone that has left him several supplies in a locker at a Japanese train station.
You see, Ladybug has been instructed to get on a bullet train heading toward Kyoto and simply grab a briefcase with a sticker on the handle. That’s it. It’s so simple, in fact, that Ladybug knows something must be wrong the job. But, having been trying to get himself in order following deep conversations with his therapists, he takes the gig as a fill in for the person who was supposed to do it and aboard the train he goes.
As fate – and trust me, fate will play a big role upon this train – would have it, Ladybug’s instincts prove right. For you see, upon this train is quite the cast of characters. There are Tangerine and Lemon (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, respectively), a pair of brothers who have the briefcase in question as well as the facially-tattooed son of the White Death, a well-known Japanese crime lord.
Also on the train is Kimura (Andrew Koji), the son of the mysterious Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), a man who knew the White Death would be, well, the death of the crime family to which they both once belonged. Kimura’s son is in the hospital after being pushed off a roof, which has driven him (at the Elder’s behest) to seek revenge … But on whom? Then there’s the Prince (Joey King), a seemingly innocent school girl who is definitely not what she seems.
And with the train stopping at stations along the way – and various characters being able to enter and exit at will – Ladybug is going to learn and learn rather quickly that he’s likely going to need a lot more therapy if he ever gets off this train.
THE REVIEW: What happens when you let the director of Deadpool 2 create a film that features just the right amount of insane violence with humor and plot twists to keep you engaged? You get Bullet Train, a near perfect thrill ride of gun, knife and swordplay, characters that should not be charismatic since they, for the most part, are all terrible people and 2 hours of turn-your-brain-off-and-just-enjoy-it fun.
As much as he has been tabloid fodder for most of his career, it’s easy to forget just how good of an actor Pitt can be. Bullet Train finds him at his comedic best, exhibiting flawless comedic timing while making you intrigued to see what his character will do (or have to deal with) next. The same can be said for Taylor-Johnson and Tyree (in what might be his best big screen role to date, presenting a character who is capable of both great violence and great sensitivity (and sometimes in the same moment).
That’s not to overlook Zoey King in her role as Prince, a character that the audience will love to hate but can’t just because of how great her performance is. Even the minor/secondary characters are given roles that add up to big laughs/moments under Leitch’s direction, a skill he utilizes as well here as he did in Deadpool 2.
Now, that’s not to suggest Bullet Train is for everyone. The language is harsh and the violence is on a Mortal Kombat level from start to finish (and I mean the video games, not the most recent movie) to the point the recent-released The Gray Man might feel competition. Unlike that film, however, Bullet Train never takes itself too seriously and instead is presented in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that knows you’re in on the jokes and balances that with characters dedicated to their cause.
In short, in a summer in short supply of competition, Bullet Train should reach no. 1 with a bullet given its high joke ratio, body count and quality of all the things that happen in between.
OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):