Based on Kōtarō Isaka‘s book Maria Beetle and directed by the man behind Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 David Leitch is Bullet Train, a bonkers, action packed and violent thriller. Brad Pitt is Lady Bug, an assassin just back from therapy and full of peace and love, who is hired to retrieve a briefcase from a bullet train – simple right? As it turns out it is not, as a whole host of international hired killers are also after this suitcase and will stop at nothing to get it. These eclectic professional murderers, with a penchant for quips and violence, are formidable foes whose paths become increasingly intertwinned as this 2 hour thrill ride progresses.
The story is very simple, with the suitcase acting as the reason to cram everyone into one small space. The conceit is worth it, as what Bullet Train lacks in plot it makes up for in humour, madcap action, and lots of blood – with guns, swords, knives, fists, legs, poisoned needles, suitcases and the odd bottle sent flying with the aim of dispatching rivals and nabbing the suitcase. It is a slick, light hearted and pacey flick which mixes the claustrophobia of The Raid with the comedy of Deadpool. The soundtrack matches the tone, including some well placed covers of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ by the Bee Gees and Bonnie Tyler respectively.
It may not be the most deep or complex film you will see this year but it is certainly the most entertaining – with a diverse range of characters. Brad Pitt plays the reluctant killer well, who is seemingly adept, unlucky and bumbling at the same time. Bryan Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are great as the wisecracking double act Lemon and Tangerine, the former with a deep love for Thomas the Tank Engine. Joey King plays The Prince, an innocent looking but conniving ‘school girl’, with ease and Michael Shannon has a good turn as Russian mobster The White Death – who kinda resembles Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry here. There are also some surprising, blink and you will miss it, cameos which raise a smile that I won’t ruin them by revealing.
Whilst the story is nothing to write home about, Bullet Train is a slickly made, if slightly shallow, thrill ride packed with fast paced action and humour.