Bullet Train Cast: Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock
Bullet Train director: David Leach
Bullet Train movie rating: 2.5 stars
With all the money and muscle behind them, you might think that keeping tabs on their kids should be easy for crime lords. In Bullet Train, that’s the only thing that doesn’t. Although gang leaders with a reputation that precede them worldwide, from Japan to America, manipulate an incomprehensible plan to get up to five killers aboard the Shinkansen, their children seem to slip around unnoticed.
Which is the reason for so much chaos in this movie, which was inspired by a Japanese bestseller called Maria Beetle. Once she had the English subtitles, the idea of putting Brad Pitt on a fast train and blowing them both — with only one damage done, and no prizes to guess — was meant to be missed. And here it is, full speed ahead.
Really there is no need to know the plot. As one character says to another person, even if you half expect someone to understand how things relate: “You work for someone, work for someone…etc. It doesn’t matter anyway.” The only thing that matters, we’re told over and over again, is a dangerous man called the White Death, who waits to collect his son and his money whenever the train wreck stops.
The white death, yes, because it is “like the plague.” Comfortable Russian.
Forget it, and just about all of the individual characters, killers or not, are interesting. Needless to say it’s the non-Japanese parts. On tiptoe about political correctness, Hollywood isn’t making a Japanese bad guy just yet, no sir. Unlike the punk and classy Hollywood villains, there are Honor and some Japanese groups on the bullet train (including the notable Sanada).
You might ask how a train from Tokyo to Kyoto could receive so many foreigners in one trip, without raising some eyebrows. But you are asking the wrong question here. Local train commuters don’t seem to notice any of the events going on, not even routinely, and they are literally just props in this drama.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is as good as Tangerine, half of a team going through the title of The Twins. Brian Tyree Henry is better than his partner in Thomas the Tank Engine, Lemon. The thief of the scene is Joey King as this little girl who has secrets to hide and her own killer moves, all dressed in a pink outfit inspired by those schoolgirl skirts, Japanese men are also very biased.
But this is a house movie, and no illusions about that. He’s a killer in therapy, so he avoids guns, and in his mind he’s avoiding killing as much as possible. Although, of course, this cannot be avoided. The nickname “ladybird” house may speak of delusion, karma, thinking of good ideas, etc., but he never loses sight of the fact that above all he must survive. With director Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde), we’ve already learned that no blood spatter is too much.
Realizing his charm, playing it for laughter, a house The movie lights up every time it appears on the screen. He’s a star embracing his age, the reading glasses he needs now, a therapist who has taken his eloquent trifles to speak, but he’s a star just fine. Which means that his aging eyes might only be humans like us, but not his unbreakable body, and that the express train, with its amazing array of cars, stands no chance.
There was some skepticism about Hollywood being Hollywood and not putting their real money where it is all about picking a variety, in a movie set in Japan and its famous bullet trains, but Pete makes it all easy.
He has won approval, along with original bestselling author Maria Bettel. “I have no sense of wanting people to understand Japanese literature or culture,” Kotara Isaka told the New York Times. “It’s not like I understand a lot about Japan either.”
Refreshing as such a statement, the movie is hardly so. We saw this train leaving the station.