Bullet Train – The DVDfever Cinema Review – Brad Pitt, Joey King

Bullet Train
Bullet Train begins in a Japanese hospital where Kimura’s (Andrew Koji) sons, Wataru, is very ill, and his Dad, known as The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), is disappointed that he failed in his fatherly duty to protect him.

Enter hitman Ladybug (Brad PittAd Astra), to a Japanese rendition of The Bee Gees’ Staying Alive, the camera watching his feet walk along to the rhythm, a la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

He’s tasked with a mission that requires boarding a bullet train to Kyoto and stealing a particular briefcase which is also sought after by other hitme… hitpeople, young woman known as The Prince (Joey KingIndependence Day: Resurgence), The Hornet (Zazie BeetzDeadpool 2), two chatty cockneys, Lemon (Brian Tyree HenryGodzilla Vs Kong) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-JohnsonTenet). Plus, he’ll also encounter The Wolf (Benito A Martínez Ocasio), who knows Ladybug from the past, but in what capacity?

And where does The White Death come into all this?

David Leitch‘s film has been thought of as being Tarantino-esque because Lemon and Tangerine chat about the inconseqential moments in life, whilst it also delivers a lot of violence, but that’s a bit of a lazy comparison. Lots of films feature general conversations, and Tarantino’s violence is more out-and-out gross for the sake of it, whereas this neatly recreates the flashy style we saw in the likes of his other films, Deadpool 2 (my favourite film of 2018), Atomic Blonde and John Wick (which he co-directed and co-produced with Chad Stahelski, but for the official billing, they split how the duties show up, since a non-animated film with more than one director looks like too many cooks spoiling the broth).

So, Mr Leitch has his own style. He doesn’t need to be compared to anyone else.

Meet Kayda Izumi Concession Girl Karen Fukuhara. She’ll sell you a bottle of sparkling water for a tenner.

Along the way, I like Lemon’s frequent callbacks to how many things in life relate to Thomas the Tank Engine. Plus, Brad Pitt’s character has a number of neat, pacifying one-liners, such as assuming a hitman has been first hurt by others emotionally, “Hurt people hurt people”, and to one who makes a gun gesture with their right hand: “When you point a finger in blame, you have four fingers pointing back at you”.

Oh, and there’s also a couple of nice cameos, which I’ll put behind a spoiler header if you don’t want to see them beforehand:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

You also have to give Bullet Train a great deal of poetic licence, since on such a regular vehicle, how could you get away with all the shouting, punching, kicking and blood spurting all over the place without it seemingly being spotted?

That said, constant action and well-choreographed violence set amongst a threadbare plot does tend to grate after a while. You need a timeout, otherwise you get overfaced with it. It does improve as it goes on, however, but I think I do need to see it again, in order to get more of a handle on it, and so I can replay some of the action scenes, as well as taking in the slower moments some more.

Oh, and how on Earth is Brad Pitt turning SIXTY in 2023? He has barely changed since he was in Thelma and Louise, and Johnny Suede!

There’s also a very early mid-credits scene, which even people starting to rush out the door should spot:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Bullet Train is in cinemas now, and is available to pre-order on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD.

You can also buy book in Paperback, Hardback, Kindle and Audiobook.

Bullet Train – Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Detailed specs:

Running time: 126 minutes
Release date: August 5th 2022
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (4.5K) (2.6K), Dolby Vision, Anamorphic Hawk Scope)
Rating: 7/10

Director: David Leitch
Producers: Antoine Fuqua, David Leitch, Kelly McCormick
Screenplay: Zak Olkewicz
Book: Kotaro Isaka
Music: Dominic Lewis

Ladybug: Brad Pitt
The Prince: Joey King
Lemon: Brian Tyree Henry
Tangerine: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Kimura: Andrew Koji
The Elder: Hiroyuki Sanada
White Death: Michael Shannon
Maria: Sandra Bullock
The Wolf: Benito A Martínez Ocasio
The Son: Logan Lerman
The Hornet: Zazie Beetz
Conductor: Masi Oka
Kayda Izumi Concession Girl: Karen Fukuhara
Wataru: Kevin Akiyoshi Ching

And those two cameos:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow