North Texas Daily

‘Bullet Train’ is conducted by its cast but narratively falls off the rails

‘Bullet Train’ is conducted by its cast but narratively falls off the rails

‘Bullet Train’ is conducted by its cast but narratively falls off the rails
August 14
12:00 2022

Known for films like “Deadpool 2” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” director David Leitch is no stranger to action. “Bullet Train” is the newest film added to Leitch’s filmography. The film’s cast is phenomenal while everything else comes to a screeching halt.

“Bullet Train” feels like a ransom letter with multiple styles clashing at once and no unique indication of the author’s identity. If nothing else, trainspotters who are fans of Brad Pitt now have a very specific way to spend two hours.

One bullet train finds itself way above its assassin capacity and nothing good comes out of it. Every character has a different goal in mind. However, as the train makes its routes, it is discovered their assignments may not be too different after all.

The cast is this film’s biggest strong suit, and it wouldn’t be that way without Pitt as the lead. This may be one of his lowest effort performances yet it was extremely entertaining. His character Ladybug goes through no real growth or development but the film doesn’t really require it. As a matter of fact, no characters go through any type of growth, as it is just one big game of who can kill who first.

The only two actors who take “Bullet Train” out of unwatchable territory are Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry. Their characters Tangerine and Lemon have some of the most absurd dialogue to ever come out of an action film. Their artificially written back and forth make it impossible to look away. One might even compare it to a trainwreck.

There are good things about this film, but you have to look for them. Every train car functions as its own character. Set designer Elizabeth Keenan did not waste the opportunity to show out to the fullest.

For viewers who love action and nothing but action, there are some really impressive hand-to-hand combat segments. There are also a handful of scenes filled with gnarly gore. It is more than you would expect from a film like this one.

It certainly wasn’t the worst action film you could think of – even with formulaic beats here and there. It accomplishes the bare minimum.

However, “Bullet Train” is unable to stay on track and jumps back and forth between different moments in time. There were so many flashbacks for characters with little to no impact on the story. It almost felt like the movie was trying to pad on the runtime. There was humor that attempted to be self-aware but it felt extremely unnatural.

It all just feels like one big mess with little to nothing to offer. Still, everyone involved tried their absolute best, and the movie looked like a blast to work on. There is not much to be upset about on a technical level.

Every action movie calls for some sort of explosive-heavy third act and “Bullet Train” definitely checks the box. It had the same feeling as any summer blockbuster. It just brings nothing new to the table to separate itself from the hundreds of other action films with recognizable casts.

“Bullet Train” is based on a novel of the same name written by Kōtarō Isaka, which seems to have positive reviews for the most part. A cast stacked from top to bottom mixed with nonstop action always seems to be a formula for success.

“Bullet Train” tends to lean too much into the formulaic side of things. There is also a cameo in the film solely reliant on the likeness of a certain actor – it is easily the most self-indulgent movie moment of the year.

It is bloated in runtime and pumped with cringe-worthy dialogue ripped straight out of your least favorite Marvel movie. If nothing else, you will have left the theater with way more Thomas the Tank Engine trivia than you ever would have wished for.

Jaden’s Rating: 2.5/5

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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