• Matthew Rondina

Bullet Train Review

Sony Picture's latest film is a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride that is a battle royale on a star-studded bullet train, my full review.

Sony Pictures' latest release, Bullet Train, is a high-octane thrill ride from beginning to end. The film stars Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, and Sandra Bullock, who all deliver great performances that keep the train rolling. It also features a host of big unexpected cameos throughout, offering some great surprises and hilarious moments. The movie is stylishly directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) who is no stranger to action films, and it shows as Bullet Train is packed with impressive action sequences and fight choreography. The train is about to leave the station, let's hop aboard and see if this is a journey worth taking.

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

From Tokyo to Kyoto with a Bullet

Bullet Train is based on the 2010 Japanese novel "Maria Beetle" by Kōtarō Isaka, adopting many of its unique characters and plot lines. The story of Bullet Train follows a group of international assassins who are headed for Kyoto. The catch is that they all have different motives, and aren't the most dangerous things on the train. As the bodies start to pile up, it becomes clear that there is more to this trip than meets the eye. The concept of the film is simple but effective, and it allows for plenty of shootouts, fistfights, and train car to car chases as the body count rises.

"The story of Bullet Train follows a group of international assassins who are headed for Kyoto. The catch is that they all have different motives, and aren't the most dangerous things on the train."

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Luck be a Ladybug Tonight

The action kicks off when Pitt's character codenamed "Ladybug" is tasked with collecting a briefcase, by his handler "Maria Beetle." He reluctantly covers for another assassin named Carver, who is ill. A "snatch and grab" task that seems simple enough quickly goes awry when other assassins on the train get tangled up with Ladybug. The unlucky assassin finds himself in a much deeper ploy, where he has to face off against hitmen brothers Tangerine and Lemon, Yakuza, the head of a cartel and more unexpected baddies.

"The unlucky assassin finds himself in a much deeper ploy, where he has to face off against hitmen brothers Tangerine and Lemon, Yakuza, the head of a cartel and more unexpected baddies."

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Deep Tarantino and Ritchie Influences

One interesting aspects of the plot early on is it moves between characters quickly, making you question the journey you are being taken on. In one early scene the film is about an injured child, transporting a VIP, then a simple beat em' only to morph into a tale of vengeance, it keeps transforming until all character's true motives are revealed. If you are a fan of Snatch or the Kill Bill films, much of the same dark humour, colourful offbeat characters and pop culture references are rife in Bullet Train. Although the story and characters don't hit the highs of the aforementioned films, you still shouldn't pass up this ride.

"If you are a fan of Snatch or the Kill Bill films, much of the same dark humour, colourful offbeat characters and pop culture references are rife in Bullet Train."

(Credit: Sony Pictures)


Bullet Train's Cast and Direction

The cast really carries the movie with each bringing their own unique style that helps bring the action comedy to life. For all the characters and twisting plot lines introduced, viewers are guided through the experience with giant neon letters that introduce key characters. It's a clever touch, considering there are a lot of flash forwards and backwards.


"The cast really carries the movie with each bringing their own unique style that helps bring the action comedy to life."

Pitt is charismatic, dangerous and overly "zen" at times as Ladybug, even as he is plagued by bad luck and twists of fate. King on the other hand is fierce and resourceful as The Prince, carefully plotting her next move.

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Brian Tyree Henry steals every scene he's in as Lemon, delivering his own brand of morality with his favourite childhood cartoon Thomas & Friends. It's oddball, adds some comedic relief and helps to move the plot along in unexpected ways. I'll never look at Diesel the same way again. As much as I did enjoy some of these interludes at the start of the film, I would like to have seen them cut shorter to reduce some character monologging.

"As much as I did enjoy some of these interludes at the start of the film, I would like to have seen them cut shorter to reduce some character monologging."

The banter between characters did cut down on the signature action Leitch is known for, and I would have loved to see more gunplay and hand-to-hand combat in the close quarters of each train cars.

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Soundtrack and Visuals

The music is an adrenaline-pumping mix of electronica and rock that compliments the action and characters on-screen wonderfully. The visuals are also great, with the camera always moving and keeping the viewer engaged. The film's standout visual effects come during a one-take scene that follows Ladybug as he weaves his way through the train, taking out his targets along the way.

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

It's a brilliant set piece that is expertly executed by Leitch and his team, I wish there were more of these moments as the setting and team of assassins seemed held back in some sequences. The film's setting on a bullet train adds an extra layer of tension and excitement especially as the things unfold inside the train and at each station.

"The film's setting on a bullet train adds an extra layer of tension and excitement especially as the things unfold inside the train and at each station."

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Final Thoughts on Bullet Train

Overall, I really enjoyed Bullet Train and can easily recommend it if you are looking for an action packed comedy. It goes a little deeper than most action films with some funny moments peppered throughout. The cast is fun and dynamic, (with some unexpected cameos) and the direction pulls from action heavyweights like John Wick and Kill Bill. The visual effects are great too, with some great set pieces and emotionally charged flashbacks. If you are a fan of Tarantino or Guy Ritchie films, then this is an easy sell, even if you're not, I still think you'll enjoy this wild ride. It's an action-packed movie with a great cast that will keep you entertained from start to finish, I definitely recommend grabbing a ticket to ride this train.


Bullet Train is in theatres now and available for preorder on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray editions.

 

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