Take a thrill ride on the “Bullet Train”

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2022

By Evan Fitch

 

Screeching into the station this week is “Bullet Train,” a thriller set to a pace befitting of its title. “Bullet Train” is directed by stuntman-turned-filmmaker David Leitch, who brings his eye for action and choreography to each of the film’s inventive and numerous fight sequences. This film also has the humor to match its action in equal measure, with witty barbs thrown as often as the characters’ punches. 

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This film’s frenetic dance of violence is performed by a fantastic cast, led by Brad Pitt. It begins with Brad Pitt’s character, a once professional assassin codenamed Ladybug, coming out of semi-retirement to sub-in for another hired killer who is unable to take the job as scheduled. 

 

Ladybug desires to turn over a fresher, less violent, leaf in life. He has vowed to never again pick up a gun, and never again kill. The job at hand is simple, and one that shouldn’t require Ladybug to violate his new code: he has to retrieve a metallic briefcase and deliver it to a client. However, as fate would have it, he finds himself captive aboard a train moving at blistering speed, in the company of dozens of other professional assassins, all with densely interwoven histories and grudges, and all similarly focused on the same metallic briefcase. 

 

“Bullet Train” is an action film that feels as if it exists in a comic book world, with larger-than-life and unique characters, all with a wit sharper than their knives. They share similar occupations of harm-for-hire, with distinct personal flairs, introduction cards and flashbacks, reminiscent of a Tarantino film. Much of the film’s levity comes from this colorful supporting cast. Each of Ladybug’s numerous adversaries has a humorously vibrant story and style of their own right, including one character who is obsessed with “Thomas the Tank Engine.” 

 

“Bullet Train” is at its best during its many moments of self-aware comedy and commotion. The film’s quieter moments of poignancy or stoicism don’t come quite as naturally, but nonetheless, those moments enrich its run. The film ultimately does have a story to tell, and the knotted twists of the narrative unfold in some satisfying revelations and conclusions.

 

Like many of the comic book films dominating the market, “Bullet Train” is similarly hamstrung with  CGI-dominated visuals, rich with detail and movement, but often lacking in depth and natural lighting. However, to the film’s credit, its contained setting and larger-than-life characters work with the grain of the CGI, rather than against it. 

 

So, whether you are in the mood for action or in the mood for comedy, “Bullet Train” should expediently transport you to both! We hope to see you on board this week!