Director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw) doubles down on the dumb chaos that he provided with his Deadpool sequel. Non-stop action, constant visual comedy and plenty of characters that present a variety of varying characteristics (for better or worse). Bullet Train is a wild ride that desperately tries to not derail before it reaches its final destination.
Brad Pitt’s ‘Ladybug’ is a contracted killer. Tasked by his handler to track down and retrieve a briefcase on the Kyoto bound bullet train. It seems Ladybug’s unfortunate luck – one of the few continuous gags – lands him in a scenario where he isn’t the only assassin occupying the carriages of the train, but rather it turns into a battle royal between some of the world’s deadliest. Ladybug’s simple snatch and grab quickly turns into attempts of scampering survival.
If excessively enthusiastic action is what you’re looking for than Leitch’s latest effort more than has you covered in that department. With a simplistic storyline setup in its opening, Bullet Train is full steam ahead from then on, giving its stars little room to breathe, taking few stops between its constant barrage of bullets and quick-cut close quarters combat.
On his journey, Ladybug runs into a plethora of unique personalities also with codenames such as The Prince (Joey King), The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada) and The Wolf (Bad Bunny), but with Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), who has a bizarre obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine, and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor Johnson) who’s brash geezer heavy persona leads to some hilarious moments, being the clear highlights.
Much like his work in the Deadpool series, Leitch does throw in a couple of surprise appearances but outside of comedic value do little to enhance the plot or story.
At this point of his career there’s very little Brad Pitt can do that he hasn’t already. He’s done action, drama and comedy. Bullet Train is perhaps a bit of all of those things, but with Ladybug he finds a way of keeping it refreshing and consistently entertaining.
Bullet Train though is little more than a brain defusal of the smart senses. It feels like you’ve amped up on energy drink before sitting down and every scene is like a visual representation of your organs trying to keep up with the fuel entering your body. It’s a carnival comedy brimming with chaos and zero control. Fun throughout most of its runtime, but the high-octane action does most of the heavy lifting, often distracting you from its lack of depth in story and ingenuous character writing.