Language : English | Japanese | Spanish | Russian
Director : David Leitch
Writers : Zak Olkewicz(screenplay by), Kôtarô Isaka(based on the book by)
Cast : Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman, Channing Tatum, Ryan Reynolds.
Genre : Action | Thriller | Comedy
In Theaters near you.
Bullet Train, the new action entertainer from director David Leitch is a film that stays true to the sensibilities of the maker who gave us some fun films like Deadpool, Nobody, and John Wick. Set within a confined space bombarded with assassins from across the globe, Bullet Train succeeds to impress both as an actioner and a comedy.
After Top Gun: Maverick, this is probably the most satisfying entertainer to have been released from Hollywood this year. While some of the other big projects failed to deliver owing to their routine plot or making, Bullet Train succeeds in presenting a straightforward story in the most engaging way possible. At no point, the film takes itself too seriously and seems ultra-focused on catering to the audience who have registered for nothing less than a popcorn flick. And it achieves this with flying colours.
The biggest asset of Bullet Train is its humour-laden screenplay that manages to convincingly intertwine comedy with some brutal action set pieces. While this treatment helps reduce the overall gore, it doubles up as a tool to give us an understanding of the psyche of the various assassins. The film follows a comic book style in presenting its characters and it keeps the film in that pleasing zone, even when a majority of the players are wiped out by the end of the film. The whole Lemon and Tangerine arc is written well and by the end, the audiences are bound to root for these characters even more than the protagonist; ‘Lady Bug’ (Brad Pitt). The conversations around ‘Thomas & Friends’ between both Lemon and Tangerine are hilarious, and help to portray the strong bond between the ‘Twins’.
However, I wish the writing had provided more space for the other players who board the train to complete their assignments. The Wolf gets a solid build-up and looks ready to wreak havoc but that arc gets a premature finish. Some of the subplots, like the one involving Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji) and his son and another one with a British Schoolgirl(Joey King), needed more juice in it for the final showdown to have a kick-ass feel. One doesn’t expect logic in this sort of a film but there are bits during the stunt sequences that raise some doubts even while you’re enjoying them.
The performances are superb and even though Brad Pitt puts up a good show, it’s the duo of Aaron John Taylor and Bryan Tyree that ends up taking most of the brownie points. Their quirky camaraderie is fascinating, and plays a vital role in connecting us to the characters.
David Leitch through his signature style and a visible Guy Ritchie inspiration manages to keep the film exciting right from the get-go. Even though the content doesn’t have enough in it to run for close to 120 minutes, it’s the treatment that makes it appealing and pulsating.
Bullet Train isn’t a novel effort in any way and it hardly tries to be one. It’s got everything to hold the interest of the audience and if you’re a fan of no-brainer action entertainers, just pay a visit to the nearby theatre before this train leaves the station. You’re guaranteed an entrancing experience.
Verdict : 4/7 stars
Director David Leitch and Brad Pitt had a long working relationship before Bullet Train (2022). Leitch has worked as Pitt’s stunt double in multiple films including Fight Club (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Troy (2004) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). Pitt also made a cameo in Leitch’s second directorial effort Deadpool 2 (2018).
Brad Pitt did 95% of his own stunts in this film according to stunt coordinator Greg Rementer.
The credited name for Bad Bunny’s character–Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio–is in his real name.
Bullet Train is based on the Japanese novel “Maria Beetle” by Kôtarô Isaka, which was first published in 2010. The visibility from the film production lead to Harvill Secker’s acquisition of the novel’s English publishing rights, bringing Isaka’s work to English for the first time.
Sony executives reportedly reached out to Aaron Taylor-Johnson after being impressed by his scenes in Bullet Train, to star as the title character in Kraven the Hunter (2023).