In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, 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 from David Leitch, the director of Deadpool 2.
What We Thought:
Bullet Train? More like Slowpiercer. That was my reaction to the movie when I walked out of the theater last night. I knew very little about the film going into it besides having a major cast and being directed by David Leitch, one of the best stunt guys in the world and the director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and others. Despite not knowing what it was about I still walked out disappointed. It had so much potential yet never becomes the top-notch action flick it should be.
The biggest problem with the film is that it thinks it’s smarter than what it is. Instead of being a crazy kick-ass movie on a train, it layers itself with twists and an interconnected storyline that’s completely unnecessary. Brad Pitt can handle action sequences. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was Kickass and Pietro Maximoff in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Andrew Koji was Storm Shadow, the only good thing in last year’s Snake Eyes. Hiroyuki Sanada is a Japanese icon. Heck even Joey King started doing action movies with The Princess. All these people plus it was produced by 87North Productions and there’s barely any action in the movie.
The action in it is fantastic. The hand to hand sequences are choreographed incredibly well because of the people involved, I just wish there was actually more of it. It’s overly stylized with graphics and story that it feels more like a whodunit murder mystery than balls-to-the-walls actioner. I honestly felt like it was closer to Murder on the Orient Express than Deadpool 2. I didn’t need an interconnected story, I wanted The Raid: Redemption on a train.
I know other people who loved Bullet Train so maybe my expectations for it were different than theirs despite not knowing much about it beforehand. I’m a big fan of David Leitch, Chad Stahelski, and everyone at 87North Productions (previously known as 87Eleven) so I wanted a straight forward action blockbuster. Yes movies need a story/plot, but this has too much story and not enough violence for me. Koji is wasted completely and the third act goes on longer than it should. If you are expecting John Wick on a train than lower your expectations unfortunately. I’m bummed, I wanted to love this and it be my surprise film of 2022 like Nobody was last year. That’s another 87North production and I unfortunately liked that one way better than this.
Directed by: David Leitch
Screenplay by: Zak Olkewicz
Based on the book by: Kotaro Isaka
Produced by: Kelly McCormick, David Leitch, Antoine Fuqua
Executive Producers: Brent O’Connor, Ryosuke Saegusa, Yuma Terada, Kat Samick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A Martínez Ocasio, and Sandra Bullock
This film is rated R by the Motion Picture Association for the following reasons: strong and bloody violence, pervasive language, and brief sexuality.
I admittedly switched my brain off before seeing it and then wound up enjoying it immensely. It was completely (and literally at the end) off-the-rails, over-the-top everything. I totally get someone not liking it, and can appreciate your feelings about it. I compare it loosely to Kingsman’s The Secret Service and Golden Circle films in that regard. I know some folks who didn’t like them either, but I did enjoy those “rides” also.
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I wanted a film I could shut my brain off and just enjoy but it’s too character driven and doesn’t have enough action for me. Koji was completely wasted. I liked the first two Kingsman films, I wish it had as much action as those.
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