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Bullet Train Movie Review: Brad Pitt’s antics fail to propel this action thriller- Cinema express

Bullet Train Movie Review: Brad Pitt’s antics fail to propel this action thriller 

The action turns stale and the jokes get dry in this film with a wobbly screenplay

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Published: 03rd August 2022

Bullet Train is essentially Brad Pitt doing a Jackie Chan in Tokyo. He plays a hired assassin codenamed ‘Ladybug’, in sync with his multiple ‘sexiest man alive’ titles. But his slick blonde-hair suaveness is left behind in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and it seems like Cliff Booth is taking a much-needed break after battering the head of an assassin against the wall. His twill bucket hat is on and he has plans of going to a Zen Temple or a park after the mission. The mission? Retrieving a briefcase (“With money, it’s always money”) from a bullet train going from Tokyo to Kyoto. The catch? There are two hitmen escorting a Japanese mob boss’s son, a psychopathic schoolgirl, a vengeful father and a snake on the train. Hollywood won’t let both Jackie and Brad go on a vacation, without making money out of it.

Directed by: David Leitch
Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Bad Bunny, Sandra Bullock, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Karen Fukunara

The gasps and hoots come more from the cameos than from guns going off mid-dialogue. There are special appearances by Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, who probably owed one to Brad after Lost City. There is also Zazie Beetz and Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, and it’s amusing to see Karen Fukuhara (Kimiko from The Boys) patiently arranging water bottles in the train pantry moments after Brad and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were matching Karate chops. All that is nice till the action stops hitting and the jokes run dry. We are eager to know what comes next but what is unfolding on screen has become repetitive. Amidst multiple options, the most inventive gag the makers could come up with was entwining the snake around Brad Pitt’s arm and making him run hysterically. For fans of Snakes on a Plane that’s merely scratching the surface.

There are moments of tickle when Japanese words of wisdom are met with questioning glances by American actors. Some chuckles are gained from figuring out the mechanics of a Japanese toilet to sucker punching wobbly mascots. Even the characters are introduced with anime-like zappy intertitles but at times the satire feels ignorant. Comedic scenes tie like loose bogeys in a screenplay that is waiting to derail. By the film’s climax, the literal and the metaphoric train goes off the track and it, sadly, doesn’t come as a surprise.

The action is signature David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde). Characters will bleed from their eyes and their throats while jokes are flying around. It’s both eerie and facetious to see Brad straining to recognize an assassin who has jumped him. Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta’s Paperboy) delivers a gleeful performance. His hitman ‘Lemon’ is obsessed with the cartoon Thomas the Tank Engine and his comic timing is impeccable. But all of it seems lacking with a script that dangles in the middle. The resolution seems too fantastical, too full blown-out and far-fetched. Bullet Train, in its bid to reach the destination, misses crucial stations.  

Rating:
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