The Bullet Train
Starring Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, and Sandra Bullock.
Directed by David Leitch
Rating: * ½
There are awful films. Then there is The Bullet Train. It makes Junya Satō’s old 1978 Japanese film Bullet Train look like Dr Zhivago, with or without the doctorate. To call this a travesty of time(ours) and space(theirs) would be an insult to an outerspace misfire like Ad Astra which also starred Brad Pit. The movie, and Pitt, were far smarter in Ad Astra than in this film. The Bullet Train seems like a pretext for upscaled dumbness and bad acting except Andrew Koji(playing a Japanese assassin) and Joey King(playing a dangerously innocent-looking hitwoman) who are excellent.
The mood is more filthy than frothy. Characters come to a brutal end on the speeding train. I could almost hear canned laughter in the background, as if brutal death is fodder for stand-up comedy.
The train is filled with assassins of every gender ,nationality and colour pitching in with the zest of pot-smokers on a Saturday night.The Bullet Train wears a doped-out fagged-out look . There is nothing more dead than a corpse acting alive. The Bullet Train has two characters onboard who are dead on departure.The others behave like they are all drugged with infantile hormones, running around killing and maiming one another in a train that has seen better days.
Based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka, The Bullet Train is about different assassins at each other throat on a speeding train. Don’t bother to figure out who’s who or why actors like Ryan Reynolds, Channing Tatum(playing a train passenger who hits on the male cast) and Sandra Bullock agreed to make guest appearances in a film that would rank as one of the worst in the entire cast’s collective career.
Shot by cinematographer Jonathan Sela who also shot director David Leitch’s earlier feature film Atomic Blonde(which too was one of my least favourite films in recent times), The Bullet Train wears a blotchy over-saturated look, as though the frames were trying to compete with a carnival in town where the acrobats could jump higher than the actors in this film.
If I had a choice between watching The Bullet Train again and being run over by it,I would choose the latter. This one makes our own Burning Train an instant classic.