Title – Bullet Train (2022)
Director – David Leitch (Atomic Blonde)
Cast – Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Hiroyuki Sanada
Plot – A collection of ruthless assassins find themselves on board a fast moving train in the heart of Japan, with the renowned Ladybug (Pitt) in the heat of the action, finding himself battling for his life by any means necessary.
“If you put peace out in the world, you get peace back”
Review by Eddie on 05/08/2022
Starting out a rollicking pace and keeping you glued to your seat for a large portion of its opening half, action specialist David Leitch and his bankable leading man Brad Pitt find their oddball Hollywood blockbuster running out of track as their two hour genre hybrid wears on, making Bullet Train an “almost’ film that is still highly watchable, if not at all memorable.
Adapted from Kôtarô Isaka book, David Leitch’s version of Bullet Train is a pick and mix mash-up of seriousness, OTT action, straight up comedic hi-jinks and colourful characters, as Leitch aims to emulate the likes of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino in bringing this wild ride of a train full of assassins and guns for hire to the big screen, with Pitt’s trying to be a better person Ladybug caught up in the shenanigans that involve anime mascots, on the loose snakes, a significant body count and more Thomas the Tank references than you’d have ever thought plausible.
In amongst everything going on in this jam-packed journey, the most surprising elements to Leitch’s big-budgeted affair is just how willing he is to make things weird and it’s likely that many that have witnessed the extensive marketing for this oft-delayed feature will be taken aback by just how strange things do get along the way, coinciding with the fact that while the film has been promoted as a genuine Pitt star-vehicle, Bullet Train isn’t at all afraid to shun Ladybug on multiple occasions to allow its supporting cast of actors and characters time to hog the spotlight.
From Joey King’s ruthless Prince, Andrew Koji’s Kimura and most notably Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Tangerine and Brian Tyree Henry’s Lemon, those expecting Pitt to dominate screen-time here are going to be left disappointed but thankfully the film can work when Pitt isn’t hamming it up as his peace aiming change seeker with Leitch giving each of his side characters some nice moments, even if in many instances you don’t feel like their sub-plots and background segments make the film significantly more impactful, with some trimming of these detours potentially having allowed Bullet Train to not run out of steam as it heads towards its elongated endgame that features less look at me moments and more focus on just getting on with the job at hand.
There’s no doubt that despite its missteps and inability to be as cool and inventive as it thinks it is, Bullet Train still offers a fun ride but while it may be an easy and enjoyable watch, there’s a missed opportunity here to create a genuine cult film that would’ve added to the ever growing reputation of Pitt’s career that has managed to provide its fair share of timeless efforts that remain in constant conversations.
Final Say –
Far stranger than you’re likely expecting and not the Pitt dominated event many might have hoped for, Bullet Train is a well-filmed action oddity that is unable to to grasp the greatness its story offers as it sluggishly reaches the end of the line after a bright and feverishly entertaining start.
3 bucket hats out of 5