Bullet Train is not a complicated or overcooked action movie, it is not deep with message and backstory, it is just a fun-ride of an action-comedy flick. Despite its one-dimensional approach on the Asian elements but Bullet Train offers variety of comical characters that make the movie rich with comedy.
Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an American assassin who currently is covering for other agent on a mission to steal a briefcase in Japan that is in a Shinkansen or also known as a bullet train. Fully equipped with CGI, Ladybug must counter several other agents to finish his mission.
Ladybug is doing his mission under the narrative that he is a person who is haunted by bad luck. The mild-mannered assassin whose love to wear standard comfort fashion to avoid attention loves to have an easy assassination gig and stealing a briefcase with a lot of money is seen to be one.
During his search on the Asian-setting train, some other assassins are standing in his way. There are two British brothers, Lemon (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Tangerine (Brian Tyree Henry) who firstly hold into the briefcase. The British brothers also have mission to deliver the briefcase along with the son of their client, namely White Death.
Not forget to mention that there is an assassin from Japan namely Kimura (Andrew Koji) who wants to avenge for his son accident. Also, The Prince (Joey King), an unstable teenage girl that looks like Dora the Explorer but plan to execute an assassination on White Death.
Everything related to the briefcase happen on the train. During his searching, Ladybug suddenly confronted by other people who have grudge against him. Despite several attempts, Ladybug successfully defeat other unimportant characters to make the movie left with only the important characters. It’s like Battle Royale infused by Mission Impossible with Shinkansen background.
Ladybug is a funny character but lot of times it feels that the character is too dependent on the charisma of Brad Pitt instead of creating a distinguished character building. He is a fun agent with his i-don’t-care attitude but sometimes it creates unneeded scenes in the movie. Same as the Lemon who has addiction for kid cartoon characters and make some conversations are just to random.
Balancing the assassins from the western country, there are Kimura and the father Hiroyuki Sanada. On the character development, they are deeper, they have more soul and more charisma on their portrayed characters. Especially the father who want to take revenge on White Death. They are more stable and give the main storyline more weight.
Luckily when put together, all of the characters create the fun spark and witty atmosphere. Especially prior to the final fight when Ladybug had conversation with Sanada. They both portrayed the typical characters from Japanese movie who love wisdom and western movie that prefer straight to the point.
On the aesthetic, sometimes, western movies have appetite for Asian elements. Just like any western movies with Asian elements, Bullet Train also has heavy and CGI supported Japanese elements but it is too one-dimensional. The adapted elements are too obvious, if it is not samurai, katana sword, train, then Yakuza. It’s always the same.
But despite its obviousness, the adapted Japanese elements on the movie are still good and showcased with aesthetic. It looks great, looks arty, and cool. And after a long fight inside the train, it ends with a serious yet witty note just like the overall elements of the movie. Bullet Train is a fun ride of a simple comedy movie.
Our Score (7.5/10)
Title: Bullet Train
Production: Columbia Pictures, 87North Productions
Director: David Leitch
Screenwriter: Zak Olkewicz
Casts: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada