MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Bullet Train” stars Brad Pitt (World War Z, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…), Joey King (The Conjuring, The Kissing Booth), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals, Kick-Ass), Brian Tyree Henry (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, If Beale Street Could Talk), Andrew Koji (Snake Eyes, Warrior [TV series]), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, The Last Samurai), Bad Bunny (F9: The Fast Saga, Narcos: Mexico [TV series]), Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fury), Zazie Beetz (Joker, Atlanta [TV series]), Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, 99 Homes), Masi Oka (Heroes [TV series], The Meg), and Sandra Bullock (Gravity, The Proposal). It is directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde), with the screenplay being written by Zak Olkewicz (Fear Street: Part 2 – 1978, Last Voyage of the Demeter).
Ladybug (Pitt) is given a simple smash-and-grab assignment aboard a bullet train. Little does he know that slew of assassins are all inner-linked to the same object he is pursuing.
Welcome to the popcorn entertainment picture of August…
Fun, vibrant, and well-choreographed, David Leitch’s “Bullet Train” commands control of the big screen in many ways. Its cast is expansive, with everyone bringing their A-game to provide the action and laughs necessary to pull off such a wild, ludicrous storyline. Clearly, “Bullet Train” sought to be the entertainer of the summer, and they did a bang-up job in execution.
For a long while, I had been a fan of style-over-substance. What attracted me most was a unique vision/design that was appealing to my eye. Story was important for sure, but if a director wielded an arsty image that popped, they had me sold (this is why I am a huge fan of Wes Anderson). As I have gotten older, that mentality has slightly shifted. Some of the visually-stunning pictures that don’t capitalize on narrative have grown weaker in my eyes, as I am ultimately seeking a film that can provide the all-around. “Bullet Train” most is most definitely a style-over-substance picture, as it is clearly here to serve up action and laughs. However, with the eclectic performances and fun objective, it manages to skirt by without having to dwell too much on story weight.
Brad Pitt leads the charge of this wild ensemble. He’s gotten into more comedic roles as of late, and the man pulls it off in spades. His timing and delivery sell his character so well, and I loved seeing him get to kick some butt all the same. The fact that he is only a small peg in this gigantic machine is also a testament to the writing of this. Olkewicz, adapting the screenplay from a novel, balances everyone nicely, giving them all a moment of glory and shine (a few moments being so brief that they were funny). Some characters are far better than others (notable performances include Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, and Joey King); I for one hated Zazie Beetz’ character of Hornet. You either had roles that were effortlessly funny, or roles that were trying too hard, and that was Hornet for me.
There’s not really a dull moment with this one. Even with the unappealing characters, Leitch and Olkewicz didn’t give much time to them. Really, where the film can sway you is in its absurdity and girth. There are a lot of chaotic, extreme sequences that happen, all of which pay to the style of the director. At times I found it funny, at times I found it cool, but other times I found it… too silly. There were certainly moments that I rolled my eyes at; particularly at the jokes that didn’t land (and I will admit there are a few of them). But at the end of the day, it knows what it is: a balls-to-the-wall, sometimes raunchy, always ludicrous, action flick with no limitations. The shots are stunning, with the lighting work being absolutely brilliant. It’s a gorgeous looking film that is meticulously planned down to the fabric on the wardrobe. You gotta give credit where it is due, and “Bullet Train” has a lot to pay forward to.
If you’re looking for the next big action flick, you’ve come to the right place. This is a masterclass of visual filmmaking, with performances that add to the overall spectacle. The jokes don’t always land, and there are some characters I didn’t care for, but overall “Bullet Train” is an immensely fun picture worth seeing. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: