Bullet Train Is A Hilarious, Action-Filled Ride
A hilarious action-filled ride, “Bullet Train” is fun, crazy, and insane … led by an enigmatic cast of characters.
“Bullet Train” Movie Review
Based on the book “Maria Beetle” by Kōtarō Isaka
The film follows Ladybug (Brad Pitt), a hired gun back from an extended vacation in Japan, who must steal a briefcase.
Pretty simple, right?
But, in order to do that, Ladybug must deal with two mercenaries for hire (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry), a father and son looking for revenge (Hiroyuki Sanada, Andrew Koji), a young woman with a secret (Joey King), and a couple of assassins (Zazie Beetz, Bad Bunny).
All of whom want the briefcase for their own purposes.
Directed by one-half of the stunt team ’87Eleven’ David Leitch, and written by screenwriter Zak Olkewicz …
Leitch punches up Olkewicz’s Guy Ritchie-esque script with fun and well-choreographed action set-pieces. With editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir’s tight and quick cuts, the action blends together with Jonathan Sela’s stunning cinematography. This gives the film a slight melancholy feel. Which also allows for instances of dark humor within the characters’ performances.
And speaking of those….
When it comes to this ensemble, there are multiple standouts.
The first is definitely Pitt as Ladybug. He plays the role as if he’s reviving his character Lawrence from 1992’s “True Romance”. The difference here though is that Pitt displays a sense of competence and awareness even being the straight man in a situation. This contrasts with his “True Romance” role as he played that role with the character being incompetent.
As for the others, Johnson’s ‘Tangerine’ and Henry’s ‘Lemon’ take the cake with their back and forth chemistry. Meanwhile, Sanada and Koji give a dynamic performance as Yuichi and the Elder with both actors bringing their martial-arts background. And despite only being in the movie for a hot second, Puerto Rican rapper-turned-actor Benito A. Martínez Ocasio aka Bad Bunny makes a stunning debut. However, this leads into some of my criticisms in the film.
First off, while there were definitely some standouts, there were others that felt underutilized.
This was mostly in the screen-time department.
But, one example of this was Zazie Beetz’s ‘The Hornet’ character, as she should have had more time. This is also the case with Joey King’s ‘Prince’. However, in the case of King though, it’s more or less that her ultimate reveal felt unsatisfactory. Beyond the acting, the film does run at a slower pace, much similar to Leitch’s 2017 film “Atomic Blonde”.
This is most evident in the last 10 to 15 minutes.
Length-aside, “Bullet Train” is an action-filled ride, with a ton of fun and humor. Leitch, Olkewitz, and company managed to bring Isaka’s book to life through action, wit, and dark humor to boot. But displaying all of that on screen is Brad Pitt, who leads a cast of standout performances. Even if some of them get more screen-time than others, they still deliver a sense of style and fun.
All in all, “Bullet Train” is one ride you don’t want to miss this summer.
SCORE: 3.5 out of 5
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