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Action-packed entertainer with Pitt as the USP Rating: 3.5*   David Leitch has had a string of commercial successes: John Wick (for which ...

Action-packed entertainer with Pitt as the USP

Rating: 3.5*

 David Leitch has had a string of commercial successes: John Wick (for which he wasn’t credited), Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Hobbs and Shaw, and now Bullet Train. Like all his films, Bullet Train embraces the style over substance formula, the only difference being, that this has a plot and is stylised to the max, unlike his other films. Like all his films, it has a big cast of well-known and bankable actors, and Leitch utilises his cast here to the max. This film is more comedic than it is an action film, though there are some great stunts and action set pieces, like all his other films. Leitch is weirdly fascinated by katanas and this is filled with katanas.

Leitch’s best-directed film to date, with the pacing fast and exciting and a fun acid trip energy radiating off the screen and the performances, Bullet Train is a fairly entertaining film that doesn’t give the viewer a single moment to think and apply logic to the over-the-top action scenes and the stylised dialogues.

The whole film takes place inside the ‘Bullet Train’ and somehow manages to make the most out of the setting and keep it entertaining. This isn’t anything out of the box. It follows the same action-comedy formula that thousands of films have followed, some of which are better than this and some which are worse than this, this somehow manages to hang in between though it does everything right. The jokes don’t land as often as they’re supposed to and when they do, most of them barely get a chuckle out of the viewer, while some make some viewers laugh out loud. The shots seem as if they’ve come to life out of a manga and don’t feel weird to look at. The soundtrack is great, combining various songs of different genres but with the same energy and used effectively. The lighting is great but gives Tokyo the exact feel and look that millions of action films have given before with vibrant neon colours lighting everything.

Leitch’s direction is average, just the kind expected to handle this kind of film. The fight sequences feel overstuffed but never boring. The gore is well done, neither graphic nor tame. The actors seem to be having fun, and most of all Brad Pitt who plays his character of Ladybug pretty well. The film relies on Pitt’s charisma, making him deliver one-liners that rarely land but work just because Pitt said them. Joey King as usual is bad and is just irritating to the point of being intolerable, although not as intolerable as she was in The Kissing Booth trilogy. Aaron Taylor Johnson as ‘Tangerine’ is by comparison the best in the film, with some of his jokes landing, and he makes a lot out of his one-dimensional character and seems to be having fun. Brian Tyree Henry is good and plays his part of ‘Lemon’ well, though Johnson outshines him in their scenes together. Hiroyuki Sanada as ‘The Elder’ gives by far the best performance, despite very little screentime. Andrew Koji as ‘Kimura’ is okay. Michael Shannon in what can be considered as an extended cameo is great, bringing the feeling of menace and fear to his character ‘White Death’ pretty well. Bad Bunny is okay as ‘The Wolf’.  Zazie Beetz as ‘The Hornet’ is just there; even she doesn’t know what to do. Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum appear in two short cameos which are quite unnecessary. Sandra Bullock as ‘Maria’ has a single scene and is mostly heard over the phone and while her character is not totally unnecessary, a big actor like her playing such a minor and forgettable character is a rather weird option for the casting director to take. Logan Lerman is hardly in the film; he just sits there. This film uses the oldest tricks to make an action film in the book, telling some of the most crucial parts in flashbacks and over exposition which when done wrong can spoil the film, but somehow this film seems to work despite all those overused “cliches”. All in all, Bullet Train is a fun film ok for one-time viewing.

The film follows Ladybird who wants to do his job peacefully after his last few jobs went wrong. He’s given the job of getting a briefcase containing ransom money off the train and then getting off at the next station. Little does he know, there are a bunch of assassins on the train, and linking them all together is White Devil’s Son and the briefcase containing ransom money. There are the siblings: Tangerine and Lemon, who are given the task of getting the White Devil’s Son and the briefcase off the train; there is The Prince who wants to kill the White Devil; there is The Wolf who wants to take revenge and kill the person who poisoned his newlywed bride; there is The Hornet who has to poison The Son, and there’s Kimura who wants to kill the person who pushed his son off the roof. Everyone gets intertwined as the train arrives in Kyoto where the White Devil waits for them.

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