Starring: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, Logan Lerman and Zazie Beetz.
Director: David Leitch
Apparently, director David Leitch wanted to adapt Bullet Train into a Guy Ritchie movie written by Quentin Tarantino. It’s a bit overlong at 126 minutes, but when waiting for every satisfying puzzle piece to click into place, that extra time feels like bloody icing on a violently good cake. Every performance, whether on screen for 5 or 50 minutes, is entertaining, the action ranges from realistic to hilariously hyperbolic, and the story unfolds like a mix of Ocean’s 11, Pulp Fiction, and Snatch. If there’s a standout, it’s The Twins (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry) but, damn, every part of Bullet Train is delightful.
Bullet Train is a lot of fun, especially as a theater experience. While director David Leitch’s action films have a tendency to be convoluted and overlong (Bullet Train being no exception), it’s not often that we’re gifted movies that revel in their own premise without seeming self-aggrandizing. Brad Pitt is in full movie star mode as every action sequence ramps up both the thrills and laughs along the way, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry almost steal the show. There are some aspects of the film that may leave viewers a tad uneasy, but those flaws are hardly fatal.
All aboard! David Leitch’s Bullet Train is packed with a bloody mess of action, killer color schemes, and hilarious moments. This high-speed entertainment blockbuster shares similarly stylish vibes to John Wick if it had been directed by Guy Ritchie. But even with fun performances and cameos, the film tends to go off the rails (no pun intended) when trying to pack as much story in as possible. As much as I enjoyed taking the ride, I just felt like I was never going to get off, which made it feel neverending.
As a fan of the fun, Quentin Tarantino/Guy Ritchie knockoff subgenre, it’s been way too long since we’ve had a new offering. And while Bullet Train decently scratches the itch, it pales in comparison to similar fare like Smokin’ Aces and Lucky Number Slevin. It’s generically fun without ever veering into “total blast” territory, and the humor elicits more chuckles than laughs. Also, the trailers give a lot away, spoiling everything from one-liners to cameos. Brad Pitt is as entertaining as ever, and the rest of the cast is clearly having fun, but this film isn’t built for first class. It belongs in economy.
Bullet Train is a bloated and overstuffed mess whose third act goes off the metaphorical rails. I loved it, and I want to watch it again as soon as possible. Director David Leitch’s style of action is so much fun to behold, and the cast seems to be having a full-on blast with the film’s ridiculous and funny script (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry are particularly great as a scene stealing duo). I’m a massive sucker for over-the-top, hyper-violent action comedies, and this film delivered that in spades.