Based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kotaro Isaka, Bullet Train is the culmination of filmmaker David Leitch's entire body of work rolled into one. This quick-paced, wild, thrill ride of action, comedy, and gore is at an all-time high and is edited together in a super-fun meta way that keeps its two-hour run time drive by fast. The star power in this film also allows its normally serious performers to have some wacky fun with guns, swords, and buckets of blood while being secluded on a high-speed train. Bullet Train might get a little tedious in a couple of sequences, but overall, this is an entertaining ride at the movies with loads of laughs and thrilling action sequences. Not to mention, an entire film dedicated to the psychology of Thomas The Tank Engine. Recommended!
Director David Leitch co-directed the original John Wick film which led to him making Atomic Blonde, Hobbs and Shaw, and Deadpool 2. Leitch even was a heavy-handed producer on Nobody as well. If those movies were all mixed together and blended into a high-octane cocktail, the result would be Bullet Train. An intricate world of assassins, a deadly mission, brutal fight choreography and a comedic and cartoony take on the action all make up this film. And the great thing is, that all these elements have congealed together to make this a blast of a viewing experience. The performances are energetic with wry humor and witty dialog.
Bullet Train is set all on a high-speed modern train where a group of assassins is all tasked with retrieving a briefcase that belongs to an infamous yakuza boss. Nobody realizes other assassins are on the train at first, but as soon as eye contact is made, the violence ensues in bar cars, passenger cars, and even on the outside of the train. With a cast list that stars Brad Pitt (Johnny Suede), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kickass), Joey King (The Conjuring), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), Michael Shannon (Bad Boys 2), Sandra Bullock (Fire on the Amazon), and Channing Tatum (Step Up), Bullet Train could easily get lost in the star power. But this script allows some unique personalities to collide, all made accessible through the psychology and personality traits of Thomas The Tank Engine.
It's easy to see where films like Snatch, Kill Bill, and anime shows heavily influenced the style of the movie with their "in-your-face" camera swoops and pans, along with graphics that display character names on the screen. Not only that, the breaking-the-fourth wall that is so popular in Deadpool peaks its head out from time to time as well. Bullet Train can feel a little tiresome in parts when the film often cuts back to tell a story from the past. It disrupts the flow of the film here and there, but when the action is once again centered on the train, the pace instantly picks back up. In its meta way, the characters make it all self-aware of these flashbacks and how boring they can be.
Everyone here is performing at the top of their game and having the time of their lives cutting it all up on set. Pitt is believable as a violent assassin when he needs to be and quickly turns on the comedic gears every chance he gets. Johnson and Henry are the true stars of the film though with their budding relationship and volatile personalities. And of course, Joey King is always a joy to watch on screen as she changes her chameleon-like emotions with whoever she shares the screen with. Leitch has conjured up a super-fun time at the movies with an A-List cast. Bullet Train is enthusiastic, crazy, and a surprisingly amazing time. Recommended!