Disclaimer: The following review contains minor spoilers for Bullet Train.
Based on the 2010 novel Maria Beetle and helmed by Hollywood’s best action director (not Michael Bay) in the past decade or so, David Leitch (Deadpool 2, John Wick, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw) brings his usual wares to this over the top outing – most notably his crisp action sequences and snappy dialogues. Bullet Train does not shy away from the concept of being style over substance at every single point because it’s not a heavy plot with an entwining storyline.
The movie boils down to a simple premise but is amplified by all its visual glory, something it consistently throws at you in spades. Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is a semi-retired thief for hire of sorts, who comes back for an easy job after being away from the game for quite some time due to personal anger management issues.
He gets a job from his handler who forces him to replace one of his co-workers but assures him that this job is easier done than said, grabbing a steel briefcase from a moving bullet train and getting off it. What ensues is a smorgasbord of artistic, hilarious altercations with various other contracted assassins who is out to get the same briefcase Ladybug is targeting, all of whom seem to be vaguely related to Ladybug for some odd reason.
Ladybug, Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor Johnson) are the backbone of the entire story, with Pitt’s delivery of a seemingly normal script taking the movie to new heights. Lemon has a peculiar habit of psychoanalyzing everyone he meets with characters from Thomas the Tank Engine, hinting that the kid’s show contains more about life’s mysterious lessons than it lets on.
This is a running theme throughout the narrative as it presents philosophies to ponder about life and its machinations, with the payoff being peppered in its various gags and inter-assassin banter. Strong performances by Joey King and Hiroyuki Sanada cement the already stellar performances of everyone involved but the cameos in this movie will leave you reeling for more as it is done superbly.
While the plot does get convoluted at some point in the movie, it is still clever and written well despite juggling increasingly crazy amounts of twists and expositions along the way. Veteran cinema goers will compare this visual outing instantaneously with Guy Ritchie’s directorship, with the flash freeze frames with supers being an iconic style of his while the storyline buffs will put it side by side with works such as Pulp Fiction and other Quentin Tarantino flicks.
Whether it’s the existential crisis faced by Ladybug or the dazzling fight sequences littered throughout, the execution is done with such punchy panache that you can’t help but feel extremely satisfied with the outcome.
With an unapologetic loud nature, this movie isn’t looking to win the Oscars but it might achieve cult status in years to come due to its outrageous pacing and imagery. Bullet Train is the flashiest and most entertaining movie to come out in 2022 due to its excellent cast, brilliant writing and incredible visual aesthetics. It is a very wild ride and you will be thankful you were on it.