A network of high-speed railroads used to connect various regions of Japan carries a large volume of passengers daily, encouraging economic growth and development. From tourists to businessmen, these bullet trains do not discriminate against any ticket holder, not even five assassins with selfish intentions and an arsenal of weapons. Director David Leitch’s new film, “Bullet Train” offers a fast-paced joyride filled with humor and gore.
“Bullet Train” follows Ladybug (Brad Pitt), an unlucky handler hoping to quickly complete a simple mission and exit the bullet train. His unlucky stint continues as his path becomes intertwined with five lethal adversaries as they all strive to complete their respective assignments while staying on the train.
Most stagnant settings tend to get boring, but the film uses the train cars to its advantage. The fast nature of the bullet train matched the chaotic nature of all the fight sequences, and the cars provided unique props to make each scene different from the rest. One second, sparkling water is being launched into someone’s head, next a stuffed animal is being used to muffle the sound of a gunshot. It is wonderfully ridiculous, and your eyes will stay fully stimulated for the two hour duration of the film.
The filming style was unlike typical action films. It was stylistic, having quick and random Wes Anderson type flashbacks and unique camera angles. Your eyes will be stimulated the entire time because of the vibrant colors and character specific outfits. Many audience members weren’t too keen on the characters’ rapid-fire back stories, but it truly matched the characters’ quick wits and the speedy essence of the bullet train. Some camera angles allow the characters to look and speak into the camera, throwing the audience member right into the scene which added to the immersive nature of the movie.
At its core, this story is HEAVILY character based, and the writers and casting directors delivered a lovable group of sociopaths. Brad Pitt did an amazing job giving his character a comical level of sensitivity that usually isn’t seen in the action genre, and watching a himbo sympathetically kill others was unexpectedly funny. Kimura (Andrew Koji) and The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada) were also fantastic additions to the cast. They both contributed a needed emotional layer to the story that contrasted against the comical nature of most of the characters.
Among the killer ensemble, the spotlight was utterly and completely stolen by Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), who played wise cracking twins in charge of protecting a briefcase and the son of a powerful gang leader, the “White Death”. After the death of the son and the loss of the briefcase, the twins go on a wild goose chase in search of the killer and the lost possession. The duo is insanely funny while carrying some of the biggest emotional drive throughout the movie. Their brotherly bond was oddly sweet amid the gruesome murders they ruthlessly commit, and the two actors clearly have natural chemistry. The rapport that Tangerine and Lemon share is endearing and unlike the other relationships the characters have — these two assassins are the only duo that enter the train together, so their bickering and familiarity with each another is what makes them the most likable members.
“Bullet Train” was the most entertaining film of the year and didn’t fail to keep the audience amused. The plot twist and storyline aren’t anything new, but the director utilized a diverse cast and unique filing style to create something fresh. Some fans weren’t impressed with the large amount of plot and info that was thrown at them full force, but it perfectly encapsulated the high speed of the bullet train and created a wildly fun joyride.
Thankfully enough, “Bullet Train” wasn’t an overdone mishmash of shoot outs that are clearly marketed towards middle-aged men hoping to see scantily clad women getting saved by Tom Cruise. Instead, an odd group of criminals created an unique atmosphere that opened the action genre up to those who usually stray from typical Michael Bay type films.
Many action movies can be repetitive and a pain to watch, but this this film flew by as quickly as the train. If not for the immersive setting and impressive filming style, go see “Bullet Train” for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s impeccable mustache, vest and unbuttoned dress shirt combo for a great joyride.