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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "Bullet Train"

I try to avoid comparing films to other films in that Hollywood way, but given the amount of things going on in David Leitch’s latest offering in “Bullet Train” and doing my best to be spoiler-free, the only way I can describe it is “Pulp Fiction” meets “Kill Bill” on the title vehicle.

The story starts with “Ladybug” (Brad Pitt), who is a snatch-and-grab thief on a fill-in mission to get a briefcase off of Japan’s famous train and deliver it to the people he reports to with instructions in his ear from Maria, who seems to know him a lot better than he knows himself. What he doesn’t know is how his life, mission, and everything he knows is going to be tested and intersected by a number of characters with their own goals and desires like “Prince” (Joey King), “Tangerine” (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), “Lemon” (Bryan Tyree Henry), “Wolf” (Benito A Martinez Ocasio aka Bad Bunny), Kimura (Andrew Koji, and really the only other character that does not have an assumed name), and a host of others that I am not going to spoil here (and there’s a LOT; if you don’t want to know, don’t go to IMDb… seriously on this one). As the Bullet Train travels on through the night to Kyoto, the stakes get higher and the action gets crazier.

With a resume like “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Deadpool 2,” and producing “John Wick,” Leitch has the chops to handle the material based on the book by Kotaro Isaka (which I REALLY want to read now) and does so masterfully. For a film that clears two hours, it did not feel like it AT ALL with an amazing blend of story, action, and intrigue that most filmmakers cannot balance. More often than not, they get too heavy on one element while the others fall to the side for the sake of the art of the audience. Leitch almost dares the audience to go on this ride with him, and it is full-on worth the ticket price.

Pitt continues to live his best life here, and it is clear that he had the best time making this film. His fight scenes don’t seem forced or lunky for a guy that doesn’t really do a TON of action on this level, he works the comedic bits wonderfully, and just seems to understand this character that understands that he is good at his job but just wants to be a better human overall while everyone around him REALLY doesn’t. Henry and Taylor-Johnson channel the Travolta/Jackson vibe from the aforementioned “Pulp Fiction” very nicely by keeping their relationship with each other similar but also making it their own that kept me engaged throughout each and every scene they are in. Jonathan Sela’s cinematography is completely on-point here in conjunction with an amazing visual effects team that keeps this story’s foot on the pedal and won’t let go for ANY reason.

There is a lot more that I could talk about when it comes to how much I enjoyed “Bullet Train,” but I can’t do that without saying things that could give away some of its best traits. Even if you are the type of person that is all about the spoiler, do yourself a solid here and go see it as cold as you possibly can. I’ll put it this way: I have every intention of seeing it again so I can connect dots that I may have missed the first time. It’s THAT good.

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