"We prepare together or we die alone."
"Bullet Train" is the newest directorial effort from David Leitch, known for his work on "Deadpool 2" and "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw." Leitch is also well versed in the entertainment industry as he was Brad Pitt's stunt double for several films. So it should be no surprise that Leitch now directs Pitt in a full-throttle action film. Except for the fact that "Bullet Train" is not that great of a movie.
Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many trips to his therapist. While in Tokyo, Ladybug's latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe. It's quickly determined that all of these so-called enemies are connected somehow, and everyone is meeting in the middle on the world's fastest train. The fictional Nippon Speedline is the setting for most of this thrill ride, which contains over 16 cars with one-minute stops at each train station. Ladybug boards the train for a simple smash-and-grab job that goes topsy-turvy in minutes.
For a high-budgeted, well-choreographed film to go off the rails is a mighty feat. "Bullet Train" introduces an ensemble cast of outside contractors that steal the show from Pitt in every scene. This is primarily performed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, who play British brothers turned assassins. Joey King struts her talents by posing as a schoolgirl, but she's yet another assassin. Sandra Bullock's voice can be heard talking on the phone to Ladybug throughout much of the movie, similar to a female version of Charlie from "Charlie's Angels." The film is like if "Smokin' Aces" boarded a train but kept an inconsistent tone in a light-hearted action comedy.
While comedic moments exist in "Bullet Train," it's evident that it was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. MANY train cars are entirely left empty as if the assassins are the only passengers on this overnight train to Kyoto. Even in scenes where passengers exist, they don't seem to notice all the killing and bloodshed happening next to them. The film plays with this comedic energy and makes excuses for its faults, but the constant sabotage and elongated absurdity of scenes make it seem like Leitch threw in too many obstacles.
"Bullet Train" is turbulent and chaotic but a thrilling ride nonetheless. Its illogical, blood-soaked premise may derail some, but others might find charm in its memorable cameos, wild hairstyles, and magnetic characters. Be prepared for a testosterone ride to nowhere that's turned up to the max. Poisonous snakes and all.
Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟