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bullet train

★★★

starring: brad pitt, aaron taylor-johnson, brian tyree henry, and sandra bullock

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Five assassins find themselves on a fast moving bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with only a few stops in between. They discover their missions are not unrelated to each other.

In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug's 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. 

 

Ladybug, Brad Pitt’s character, has to jump onto a train and retrieve a briefcase. A pretty straight forward premise. Well, in the beginning it is. But as the story progresses the narrative strands become tightly entwined while coincidences seem to become more commonplace. 

 

Some of these narrative coincidences work, but some, at times, feel a little too contrived. The theme of fate versus taking control of your life is wafer thin, lost in the midst of a blood soaked, slick stylistic flick. The dialogue is crisp and sharp, reminiscent of director Guy Ritchie’s early work, with brother assassins Lemon and Tangerine bringing the house down with their hilarious banter. 

 

Bullet Train is a fun film that is the epitome of style over substance. And it is a very stylish film indeed. The action sequences are as equally creatively brutal as they are comical, all while being set in a smooth and luxuriously modern bullet train. However in the final act the action descends into the cartoonish, with some truly outlandish results for some of the characters.

 

Brad Pitt is back in hilarious form with a light, charming kinda touch that he brings not only while he mucks about with all the different functions of a Japanese toilet while he hides from the baddies but also to his insistence on using one of his therapy mantras to unarm a weapon wielding villain. Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson superbly bring the banter filled laughs while also bringing a bit of heart to the film. And Hiroyuki Sanada is utterly compelling as he brings a real depth of presence to a small role and to the film itself. 

 

While Bullet Train has more narrative threads than you can shake a stick at, it's still a fun filled, blood soaked octane ride with Brad Pitt in great form.

★★★