Review: Bullet Train

If you’ve seen Director David Leitch’s movies (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), you know they’re filled with animated fight scenes, colorful characters, laugh out loud humor, and various objects used as weapons. Leitch’s latest film, Bullet Train, is a combination of all those things with a little Guy Ritchie sprinkled on top.

Bullet Train follows an assassin codenamed Ladybug (Brad Pitt) – an assassin that believes he’s been cursed with bad luck. His handler tasked him with an easy job…retrieving a briefcase on a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. The simple extraction becomes a little more complicated when other assassins turn up looking for the briefcase as well – Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), Wolf (Bad Bunny), The Horney (Zazie Beetz), and Prince (Joey King).

As the assassins work to recover the briefcase, Lemon believes there is a “Diesel” (Thomas the Tank Engine character) on the train causing havoc. Lemon is correct…all of the assassins are on the same train for a reason.

If you love Guy Ritchie films, you’ll love Bullet Train. If you love Snatch, The Gentlemen, Sherlock Holmes, or RockNRolla, Bullet Train is the movie for you. It has the same frenetic energy; side stories/back stories, over-the-top characters, hilarious running jokes, and a main character that remains calm during the storm. It has elements that make Guy Ritchie films enjoyable while adding the action sequences that make Leitch’s films so much fun.

At the heart of the story is a situation involving The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his son Kimura (Andrew Koji). Koji and Sanada are fantastic. Like the rest of the cast, they both do a lot with the screen time they’re given. The most memorable performances come via Aaron Taylor- Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry as Tangerine and Lemon. They are the hilarious duo I didn’t know I needed in my life. Their comedic timing and chemistry make their scenes incredibly entertaining.

Like the Fast franchise, Bullet Train trades in physics and sanity for balls-to-the wall entertainment and some badass action scenes. At times, the passengers on the plane engage with the assassins. At other times, the passengers act like NPC’s (Non Playable Characters) in a video game – they’re like those people in the crowd in Street Fighter 2 watching two men fight to the death and then one destroys a strangers car for bonus points.

There’s nothing serious about Bullet Train. It’s 100% committed to being fun. The film isn’t trying to say anything deep. It’s not interested in making a statement. It’s a group of assassins engaged in pure pandemonium on a bullet train. That is the focus of the film and it never strays too far from that. The film will play on cable TV for years to come.  If you’re interested in some really entertaining and mindless fun, you’re on the right train.

Grade: B+