Bullet Train stars Brad Pitt, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Zazie Beetz, and Bad Bunny (Benito A Martinez Ocasio), and it’s directed by David Leitch who helmed Deadpool 2. Pitt plays Ladybug, an assassin on a train who is meant to steal a briefcase, but he gets embroiled in a myriad of other conflicts with a lot of other unsavory characters.
Thematically, the film is directly about luck and fate, and that is used as an excuse have some overly complex and remarkably convenient plot contrivances. Characters end up just where they need to be to either thicken or thin the plot – whichever is required at the time. A good comparison is the lost-to-time 2003 film The Cooler, which is also about luck, but whereas The Cooler used dumb luck as a plot trick once and at the most dramatically appropriate time, in Bullet Train bad and good luck is so often used as a plot excuse that it seems more like lazy writing and less like development of a theme.
What makes Bullet Train barely recommendable is the action sequences. These moments are fun, though remarkably violent, and with the exception of some awful CGI during one sequence, they are well-shot and -choreographed. In the quick-witted dialogue writer Zak Olkewicz and Leitch are obviously cribbing from Guy Ritchie’s heyday (films like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch), and it all works to make a fun but disposable action comedy.
Bullet Train is not for everyone, but action film fans and Brad Pitt fans are going to be satisfied; for others, Bullet Train’s mileage may vary.
Three out of Five Stars.