‘Bullet Train:’ an unstoppable action-comedy adventure


Director David Leitch’s “Bullet Train” is a thrill ride of well used comedy, innovative and unique action sequences and stellar performances all around, making it a welcome addition to the action comedy genre.

The film stars Brad Pitt as “Ladybug,” a seemingly unlucky former assassin dedicated to completing his missions in a more peaceful manner. However, his goals go south when a seemingly simple mission on a high-speed Japanese train spirals into a bombastic battle for survival, as several other high-profile assassins cross paths and chaos ensues. While not being a masterpiece of storytelling, “Bullet Train” manages to tell a thoroughly entertaining story of revenge and survival while keeping the viewers hooked for the entire time.

“Bullet Train’s” cast and their performances cannot be praised enough. Brad Pitt is incredibly charismatic as Ladybug, bringing a sense of humor and an underdog nature that is rare in action movie protagonists. Joey King excels as Prince, one of the film’s many antagonists. Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Andrew Koji and Hiroyuki Sanada each make the supporting characters of the film memorable with their bombastic performances. “Bullet Train” also features hilarious cameos from famous stars, such as Logan Lerman, Channing Tatum and Bad Bunny. However, the cast’s real standout is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who gives an electric performance as the assassin “Tangerine”.

Most of the film centers around Pitt’s Ladybug searching a Japanese train for a mysterious briefcase that supposedly won’t cause him any trouble. However, things go awry when he comes into contact with “twin” assassins Tangerine and Lemon, who were tasked with protecting this briefcase and its owner at all costs. While these three clash amongst themselves and with outside threats, a grieving father brilliantly played by Andrew Koji enters the train seeking revenge, only to be confronted with a manipulative scheme that places everyone on board the train at the mercy of the bloodthirsty “White Death,” the most powerful crimelord in all of Japan. It is the interactions–whether verbal of physical–between these characters as they try to navigate their way to survival that “Bullet Train” thrives on.

One of “Bullet Train’s” biggest strengths is Leitch’s over the top directorial style. Every scene in the film has a sense of flair and over the top colors, dialogue and action. This enhances the many fight scenes in the movie because it allows for more inventive combat and unique chases that leave the viewer wanting more. The film also uses its train setting to its advantage, as the ensemble of characters rarely leave the train for more than a few seconds excluding the beginning and end of the film, and the tight compartment and high speed vehicle are used to create some unique action sequences. Also, “Bullet Train” uses comedy quite well, as the charisma of the actors is used to create genuinely memorable one-liners and awkward situations.

Additionally, “Bullet Train” has quite impressive cinematography, with multiple stunning one-take action sequences that truly immerse viewers into the story. The film uses a wide variety of colors and filters as the characters transfer from car to car, helping each section feel differentiated from each other. Moreover, “Bullet Train”’s soundtrack is stellar, remixing many iconic songs while also using great original music. 

“Bullet Train” is a thoroughly entertaining action flick that simultaneously succeeds at employing well written comedy, fantastic acting, charismatic characters and great directorial flair, making it a standout film of 2022.

Grade: A-