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Review: Bullet Train – A Wild & Hilariously Fun Ride

By: Robert Prentice

In another action-packed action film from David Leitch, Bullet Train brings together a group of assassins who don’t know they are on separate missions, and ultimately all hell breaks loose on the train. How does this star-studded action film hold up? Our review is below.

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. The end of the line is just the beginning in this non-stop thrill-ride through modern-day Japan from David Leitch, the director of Deadpool 2.

Review

David Leitch, who directed films like Deadpool 2, John Wick, and Atomic Blonde comes to helm this film which clearly reflects the style of his previous films. Bullet Train brings in an all-star cast of assassins who are all on the train attempting to complete their missions, but completely unaware of each other, at least at the start. The film’s story is a bit slow to start in the action as it builds up the back stories and current state of all the characters. However, there are still funny moments early on to keep you interested.

As the film progresses the humor steps into high speed, and the action starts to take off. Pitt’s character Ladybug has some seriously nasty bad luck but it results in some pretty funny results for those around him on the train. The writers went to great lengths to make every detail matter. And for those, a bit too slow on putting the pieces together, don’t worry, they will do a quick flashback to tell you. Some may find that type of storytelling a bit condescending to the viewer. However, it’s done in a way that the film is more making fun of itself than the viewer’s ability to put 2 and 2 together.

Brian Tyree Henry stars in Bullet Train.

The all-star talent doesn’t just end with the main characters in the story, the assassins. Nope, there is a long list of additional guest stars and appearances that add to the level of insanity that ensues on the train and has the audience laughing and enjoying every moment of it. I won’t spoil any specifics on who appears, but pay close attention to everyone you meet as it very likely is someone well known in disguise.

The action and fight sequences are also well choreographed, which we have come to expect from David Leitch. Whether it was guns, knives, briefcases, or using snake venom, every sequence was over the top in action and continued to deliver the laughs. Beyond the fight scenes on the train, the quirky nature and back story of each of our assassins was the key to making it all work. Firstly you had the “twins” Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) whose code names are a source of ridicule from the others throughout the film. Lemon has a fixation with Thomas the Tank Engine, which is both on the nose and odd, but he uses it as he reads people to tell who is lying and who is not. Ladybug (Pitt) is trying to be zen and better himself. Ladybug and Lemon getting together is probably the most annoying, frustrating, and hilarious incoherent conversation of any of the characters in the film. So of course, it’s my favorite interaction and character.

There are other call-outs in the film that make reference to things outside the film. At one point a character (who we won’t reveal) is introduced and the actor is given a sticker by Lemon for a Thomas the Tank Engine character known as Percy. Percy is the name of a character the actor played in another franchise. This is one of many such Easter eggs throughout the film.

Ultimately if you are looking for the awesome fight and action sequences you came to love from John Wick and all the humor that Deadpool offered, Bullet Train gives you both. I highly recommend you go see it. It’s the first film in a long time that I came out of the theatre having laughed so much and just really had fun with. It’s nice to have a break from the serious stuff.

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