Wednesday, August 3, 2022
It is a real pleasant experience to ride a high speed train in Japan or China. They are clean, fast, reliable, and comfortable. However, it is quite a different train ride in the director David Leitch's over-the-top action comedy "Bullet Train" (弾丸列車 | Japan/USA 2022 | in English/Japanese | 126 min.). The trip in the movie has plenty of violence and blood that are fueled by the desire of revenge. But it is also full of razor-sharp witty humor and laugh out loud surprises that keep you entertained. This is a perfect summer night out movie to forget about the inflation, the pandemic, the politics, and the wars in the world.
The journey starts in Tokyo, where an assassin named Ladybug (Brad Pitt) boards the Shinkansen (新幹線 Bullet Train) heading to Kyoto. He already had quite a few unlucky incidents that happened to him recently, so he wants to take it easy and finish a seemingly simple pick-up job—to pick up a suitcase full of money from the train and get off at the next stop.
Well, of course it won't be that simple. He is going to cross paths with many assassins who are all interconnected and have many reasons to kill one another on this fast moving train. Before Ladybug gets on the train, he bumped into Kimura (Andrew Koji), a distraught Yakuza whose son is in critical condition in the hospital after being pushed off from the roof of a building. To seek vengeance, Kimura follows a note to get on this train's first class to meet the person who pushed his son—Prince (Joey King).
Prince is the abandoned daughter of a Russian kingpin named White Death (Michael Shannon) and she hates him because of the abandonment. White Death is also an enemy of Kimura's father, Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), because White Death destroyed Elder's home and killed his wife 26 years ago. Now both Prince and Elder want White Death dead.
The suitcase that Ladybug snatches is escorted by the "twins" assassins Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) who grew up together in the UK. They are supposed to deliver the suitcase to White Death, along with White Death's son (Logan Lerman). Obviously, it means a huge problem for them when it's taken by Ladybug.
Just when Ladybug is about to leave the train with the suitcase, he is stopped by Wolf (Bad Bunny) at the door and they start a fierce fight. It turns out that the reason for Wolf to board this train is to kill Ladybug, because Wolf believes Ladybug is responsible for the tragedy at his wedding, without knowing the true killer is Hornet (Zazie Beetz), who is actually also on this train.
Meanwhile, White Death is waiting at the end of the line to take his revenge for his wife's death. During this eventful journey, the fights break out faster than the speed of this bullet train. Somebody is going to get hurt.
It is super fun to watch this loud, fast, and sometimes hilarious film. The director David Leitch entertains us with exhilarating actions, tongue in cheek humors, and comical violence. The style and the violence might remind you of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" (2003) and "Kill Bill: Vol. 2," even though this film is much lighter with more punchlines. The film makes you feel like an outsider watching a spectacle of never ending bloody feuds, without having to spare any emotional investment for any one of these characters. It's a perfect film to have a good time during a summer night out.
There are many logistic details which the film fails to explain, such as where the crew of the train went. The safety features of such a sophisticated train could have stopped the train a long time ago, but that would also stop the fighting among these hit-men and the fun of this movie. There are a million other places for these killers' revenge, why do all of them come to this train at the same time? The answer is to provide a couple of hours of entertainment for us to escape reality. It worked.