The Reel Review
Brad Pitt stars in this comedy action/thriller as a reluctant hitman-for-hire in Japan who learns that other assassins traveling from Tokyo to Osaka on the world’s fastest bullet train are all part of the same mission. The film is based on Kotaro Isaka’s 2010 novel “MariaBeetle.”
Imagine a low rent mashup of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and any Guy Ritchie movie ever made, but with tons of gore, lots of really lame, violent slapstick humor and a tediously convoluted, flashback-filled story that is an exhausting 40 minutes too long. That is Bullet Train in a nutshell. The ensemble cast includes British-born Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Americans Brian Tyree Henry and Joey King – all apparently vying for worst attempt at an English accent – alongside Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon and Andrew Koji, who mercifully do not.
While Pitt looks like he’s having the time of his life goofing around with long-time pal and stuntman-turned-director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), the neon-splattered film itself is a stylish-looking but empty, self indulgent dud. Leitch’s manically choreographed fight scenes are tediously overproduced, and its funniest parts – a couple of clever cameo appearances and Zazie Beetz’ character Hornet – make up about five of the film’s 126 minutes. You know you are in trouble when the only truly hilarious scene is in the closing credits. This train is a wreck.
• Director David Leitch was Brad Pitt’s stunt double in multiple films – Fight Club, Ocean’s Eleven, Troy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Pitt did nearly all his own stunts in Bullet Train.
• Sandra Bullock, who replaced Lady Gaga in Bullet Train, during filming convinced Pitt to join the cast of The Lost City.
• The Shinkansen (Japanese: 新幹線), or bullet train, is Japan’s network of high-speed railway lines that reach speeds of up to 200 mph. In its 50 year history, there has never been a fatality due to a collision or derailment.