Bullet Train Review

*Not much to spoil here…

IMDB Synopsis

Ladybug is an unlucky assassin who’s determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs has gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans as his latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe — all with connected yet conflicting objectives — on the world’s fastest train.

“I think you might be forgetting what you do for a living. Take the gun.”

Bullet Train is one of those movies that when you saw the trailer you are just like, I am immediately in. You see movie stars you see action, you see comedy, what else do you need? The actual movie ends up delivering on that trailer even if all the pieces do not always come together. This movie is action packed, has numerous character arcs and finds a way to make the audience laugh throughout the story.

This story was adapted from a book by David Leitch (ATOMIC BLONDE, JOHN WICK, DEADPOOL 2), and he puts his unique spin on it. He is of course known for stylish action because of his previous work, and he brings all of that to Bullet Train. Brad Pitt (who Leitch used to stunt double for) stars and basically just bumbles along his mission (retrieving a case of cash) while fighting everyone in his path, all while being basically ambivalent to everything. He does not want to be doing what he is doing, yet he is very good at it. And whenever he interacts with anyone in the incredible cast (Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Joey King, Michael Shannon, etc…) he blows them off the screen with his fighting, but more so because he is just Brad Pitt. He is the ultimate movie star and it is just impossible to take your eyes off him at any point throughout the story.

The ultimate downfall of the movie is that It just tries to do way too much. There are so many backstories that even a water bottle gets it’s own backstory. Yes, you read that right, a Fiji water bottle gets its own backstory. And with all the jumping backwards and explaining the characters, the movie loses some steam and ends up feeling like it does not stick the landing.

As far as technically, the movie looks awesome and fits right into the same category with all of Leitch’s other work. Stylish fight scenes, quick editing (sometimes too quick) and quick camera work all are present throughout the movie from his DP Jonathan Sela. I also liked his composer Dominic Lewis’ score which was propulsive and never let you up for 2 hours.

Stock Watch

Stock Neutral – Brad Pitt

He is Brad Pitt, enough said.

Stock Up – Joey King

Her accent is awful, but I really liked everything else she was doing here. She was mired in Netflix movies for awhile, but she is stretching her legs now and I think she can do a lot on screen. I enjoy her presence and look forward to seeing a lot more from her moving forward.

Stock Neutral – David Leitch

He is now cemented as one of the top action directors we have these days. I look forward to anything he does, and he has a signature style. Which is more than I can say about most directors I see these days. He obviously garnered the knowledge as a former stunt man, and it is cool to see the different shots he can get using that knowledge. I am very interested in whatever he chooses to do moving forward.

*A couple other tidbits

  • Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor Johnson not only are three name brothers, but also had incredible chemistry together and showed comedy chops I did not know they had.
  • What movie was Michael Shannon in?
  • Not really utilizing Andrew Koji and Hiroyuki Sanada’s skills in Martial Arts was a big miss.
  • Bad Bunny what the hell?
  • The home and home cameos they did with THE LOST CITY and DEADPOOL 2 made me laugh.

This is a fun movie that I think will be very rewatchable once it hits streaming or cable. Really good performances, fun dialogue, for me though it does lose you at the end when it could have gone to an even higher level. Anytime we get to see Brad Pitt in a movie though we have to cherish it these days.

Juice Rating:

*You can find my 2022 Movie Rankings here.

*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.

*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.


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