Sunday 28 August 2022

REVIEW: Bullet Train (2022) - Starring Brad Pitt

Review by Jon Donnis
Director David Leitch brings us his latest Action-Comedy film, Bullet Train, set aboard a fictionalised version of the Tokaido Shinkansen, aka the bullet train, due to its near 200 mph speeds. Brad Pitt stars as "Ladybug", a ridiculously unlucky American assassin. And the rest of the all-star cast include such names as Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, and Sandra Bullock.

The film starts off in Tokyo, Yuichi Kimura "The Father", a Japanese member of the White Death's organization is grieving after an unknown man pushes his son off a rooftop, he wants revenge. 

Meanwhile a semi-retired assassin known as Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is given an assignment to retrieve a metal briefcase which is on the bullet train bound for the cultural capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto. 

It just so happens that also on the train is Yuichi Kimura, a young woman known as The Prince (Joey King), a mercenary posing as a British schoolgirl who just so happened to be the one who attacked Yuichi's son, two assassin brothers called Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who have been assigned to escort the metal briefcase that Ladybug is after, as well as the son of a Russian born Yakuza boss known as the White Death (Michael Shannon).

Are you confused yet? I know I am.

Ladybug retrieves the briefcase, but finds himself attacked by another assassin who happens to be on the train called Wolf (Benito A. Martínez Ocasio aka Bad Bunny), he blames Ladybug for killing his wedding party.

Ok it is pointless trying to explain any more, as things get so complicated. Basically, there are a load of killers and assassins on this train, some by chance, and Ladybug will have to basically survive the lot.

Throw in some clever/funny lines, lots of slightly repetitive fight scenes on the train, as well as copious amounts of flashbacks to explain characters, and that is pretty much the film.

Sometimes it feels like they had the idea for the film, "a load of assassins on the bullet train" and then tried to figure out the script as they were filming. They knew they had some big names attached to the film, so of course it would sell, but in the process, they seem to have totally forgotten how to make a film make sense and engage the audience.

The plot comes second to the violence, and all of the on train scenes are clearly not filmed on a real train, as the backgrounds are obviously CGI.

The film has its moments, the Lemon and Tangerine characters are fun, if not obviously Pulp Fiction rip offs. Brad Pitt is always likeable on camera, and there are plenty of cameos throughout to grab your attention, if only for a minute or two.

The Good
Fun fight scenes, lots of violence and some great cameos.

The Bad
Ridiculous plot that seems to have been tacked on after filming had begun.

Throw enough money at a film, employ enough big-name stars, and you are almost guaranteed a hit movie. 
But this is no cult classic. At two hours it is way too long. 

I score Bullet Train a sober 6/10.

Better writing and this could've been a classic.

Out in cinemas now!
And available to pre-order at