Bullet Train is a fun action game filled with funny characters, choreography of electrifying fights and (sometimes) surprisingly sincere emotions. This is what happens when you cram a dozen of Hollywood’s most charming actors into a cramped space and arm them with a John Wick co-director, a sharp script, bizarre roles and a set of random items that serve as improvised weapons. Despite the fact that the film never had a particularly deep message, despite the fact that he spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of luck, fate and self-determination, the bullet train gives what you need most – a stylish and blood-soaked parade of smart scenery and pleasant payouts for the public.
At the center of the bullet train, Ladybug (Brad Pitt) returns to work as a hired criminal after a long sabbatical devoted to self-examination and intervention in anger management. Replacing a colleague who fell ill with E. coli, Ladybag is accused of boarding one of Japan’s high-speed transport trains to steal a briefcase. Simple enough—until Ladybug discovers that he is not the only contractual asset on board. As the train rushes towards Kyoto, Ladybug gets into one quarrel after another, trying to escape and/or find out who chose him and the cavalcade of scum to get on the same train and for what purpose.
Brad Pitt as Ladyboy in Bullet Train
“High-Speed Train” was directed by David Leitch and is based on the 2010 novel “Beetle Maria” by Kotaro Isaki. Known for shooting some of the most outrageous action movies of the last decade, including “John Wick”, “Deadpool 2”, “Explosive Blonde”, as well as “Fast and Furious: Gifts: Hobbs and the Show”, Leitch is well versed in the main advantages of a bullet train — primarily in memorable action and instant dialogues. In many ways, style is more important than content at every turn, but, to be fair, Bullet Train is so stylish that it’s easy to ignore the fact that any words coming from the characters of Leitch are designed to sound cool, even if they pretend to be meaningful. instead of bothering to reveal something really insightful.
This is an obvious choice, although it creates a rather sharp contrast, given how much time the Bullet Train characters spend talking about how they understand their lives and their choices. For example, while Ladybug repeatedly reflects on his self-improvement efforts, towards the end of the film he is still acting out of a relatively meaningless understanding of fate (and luck); however, it doesn’t really matter to Leitch because the character has endured a non-stop barrage of excessive fights, banter between assassins and merry misfortunes. Similarly, Brian Tyree Henry’s character, Lemon, has a recurring moment where he psychoanalyzes people based on which character from Thomas’ train they most resemble, claiming that the children’s show was filled with life lessons that influenced his worldview. This part has a decent payoff, but Leitch never slows down to reveal the kind of wisdom that the public (or indeed anyone outside Lemon) can find in an animated show. For this reason, the joke is another example of a clever setup, framed as an insightful reflection, without contributing an answer to the various philosophical arguments of Bullet Train.
Brian Tyree Henry as Lemon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Mandarin in the Bullet train
Fortunately, the main mysteries of the film and the subsequent twists that are revealed overshadow the missed chances of the characters to reveal meaningful points of view. Bullet Train is an endless carousel of unforgettable villains and shocking violence to enjoy. The only downside is that the size of this stellar cast sometimes leads to shockingly brief appearances. Several characters, played by actors beloved by fans, are sent as quickly as they are presented — each of them leaves under a hail of blood and glory. In addition to Pitt, who enjoys the silly machinations of Ladyboy, Lemon Henry and his partner Mandarin (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) get the most screen time and are highlights — both as a couple and when they are forced to go down different arcs. In addition to presenting some of Bullet Train’s most striking combat scenes, the pair also reported on the film’s most effective attempt to get emotional (rather than stylistic) returns.
Similarly, Joey King plays a fascinating role as the Prince. Chewing on the scenery and recontextualizing, as well as playing against the roles of “girls next door”, in which many fans will remember her (despite the presence of several darker twists that King introduced in her filmography). Thanks to King, the Prince draws a very fine line, creating a fully realized and believable character, rather than an empty vessel through which a High-speed train can escalate drama and tension between unlikely parties.