Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
I must have watched the "Stayin' Alive" trailer for Bullet Train at least 50 times. There were moments in the trailer that I was so excited to see and I was not disappointed. Sometimes all the good stuff in a movie is put in the trailer but, I assure you, there are still so many surprising twists and turns in the film that you won't stop trying to figure out what's going on until the big reveal. Even then, by that point, you're having so much fun that you're still wanting more.
The film follows five assassins who have all been instructed to board a bullet train in Japan as part of their various missions. Ladybug, who already feels like he's bad luck, is only on the train to retrieve a case that his handler Maria needs. Thinking this will be a simple smash-n-grab, he doesn't bring a gun with him. He also feels like his bad luck would only be worsened should he have a weapon. What he doesn't realize is that The Wolf, The Twins (Lemon and Tangerine), and The Hornet are all on board and they all have grievances with Ladybug. Not to mention a side plot that also ties into the main plot but I can't go into detail on that one as that would spoil a lot of the story, twists, and fun.
Brad Pitt was a ton of fun as Ladybug, the man with the best bad luck ever. I don't think I've ever seen him in a role as comedic as this one. Even Mr. and Mrs Smith or the Ocean's trilogy doesn't quite reach the unique humor this film has. Aaron-Taylor Johnson was probably my favorite of the cast, bringing a bit of that Guy Ritchie-style hilarity into the film. Of course, I can't forget Hiroyuki Sanada, who always has praise-worthy performances in anything he's in. Even in something as over-the-top and humorous as Bullet Train, he's able to capture those few moments of emotion that keeps everything grounded and personal. Joey King was also a fantastic actress in the film, her attitude and spunk propelling her story forward without fail.
The cameos in this film were amazing. Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Masi Oka, Karen Fukuhara, Channing Tatum and Logan Lerman! There's also a split-second cameo that I will not reveal as it's too good to spoil.
The directing by the brilliant David Leitch was nothing short of phenomenal. The film felt like a cross between Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn, with a little John Woo thrown in for good measure. After directing Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs & Shaw, David has made his best film yet and I can't wait to see what he does next.
Applause must also be given to Zak Olkewicz who wrote the screenplay based on the book by Kotoro Isaka. Zak has just impressed me with his writing considering the only other screenplay he has written was Fear Street Part Two: 1978. To be able to write a screenplay that took so many risks and balanced so many plot points without ever faltering is nothing short of astounding.
The only issue I had with the film had to do with realism. I know that sounds absurd to have a gripe about realism in a film like this but sometimes you can only suspend belief so far. In a desperate attempt to reclaim the upper hand, Ladybug kicks Tangerine off the train right before the doors close. Not only is he able to jump on the train before it reaches full speed, but he's able to hang on while punching through the back window to reboard the train. Okay, for one, you would not be able hang on as bullet trains can exceed 300km/h. That's essentially 186 mph. Second, punching through the window by yourself with your fist would be impossible as you have so much wind pushing against you. A person can barely punch through water and it's standing still! Otherwise, I had no problems.
In conclusion, definitely go see this film in theaters. It's a non-stop "bullet train" of fun, hilarious hijinks, and action. I give this film a 3.5 out of 4.
© 2022 Nathan Jasper