Bullet Train (2022) – “What a Rush!”

Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails.

Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe-all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives-on the world’s fastest train. The end of the line is just the beginning in this non-stop thrill-ride through modern-day Japan.

Review

Stephen (Guest) – The creators of Bullet Train understand one thing that many other films dropping on streaming and in theatres don’t: A great cast doesn’t MAKE a film successful because of their celebrity status; a great cast makes a great script into a phenomenal film by means of their talent and skill in their craft. Sure, celebrity is a nice draw for any film commercially, but that one-dimensional approach is a trap that many producers and streamers have fallen into time and time again, producing sub-par content (can’t call it anything else). There’s so much content dropping on streaming; we think we’re spoiled for choice. And then something like this comes out – a well-crafted film- and I realize we’re actually not. We’re just tolerating most movies until great ones like Bullet Train come out.

Bullet Train is based on a book written by Kōtarō Isaka. I’m not sure how many changes were made in the adaptation, but the film plays out like a well-thought-out puzzle with each and every character, action and moment paid off. It’s fulfilling to watch smart characters making smart choices, and yet the world around them is still full of chaos. And that chaos is what makes the film so much fun. Did I mention that Bullet Train is a lot of fun? It’s got the expected crazy action and wild editing one can expect from this genre (action film where many hitmen converge in a single location); but it’s also got so much more because of the acting, writing and pacing. The third act could have used a bit of tightening up, but other than that, this is one of the best new films out in theatres, and definitely worth your time. 9/10

Dean (Guest) – I’m a big fan of director David Leitch’s trajectory in Hollywood. A stuntman turned actor turned director. Of course, it helped that he was Brad Pitt’s stuntman, who he’d go on to work with in Deadpool 2 for 0.5 seconds, and then significantly longer in Bullet Train. If you think this film is going to be bottled shenanigans in a train for the entire runtime, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. Leitch really makes use of the space he’s given and the fight choreography was truly amazing. He really brought his experience into crafting them to look as real AND as cinematic as possible.

Nice to see Brad Pitt lead an action comedy again which he hasn’t really done since Mr. & Mrs. Smith. He’s also got a solid cast surrounding him, including Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the “twins” with dodgy British accents (but the banter and chemistry is excellent so I’ll give it a pass), as well as Joey King, who brings a stellar performance as Prince.

Some might say the film is trying to be too clever by having intricate storylines converging on each other and multiple threads being pulled simultaneously. But it was extremely well executed and I’m generally a fan of these types of films. Everything that was set up was knocked down and Chekov’s gun fired all through the final act, which, admittedly, went on for a bit longer than I thought was needed.

This sub-genre of multiple assassins of diverse backgrounds converging onto one place or target is one of my favourites and I was rightfully entertained by this film. Bullet Train felt like a hybrid between Smoking Aces and Lucky Number Slevin – and I cannot stress how much of a compliment this is. 8.5/10

Remember to be safe out there, wear your mask and get vaccinated to protect everyone around you.

Let us know what you think of the movie and leave a comment.

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