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Bullet Train Review: Fun But Not Fast Enough

Brad Pitt leads the ensemble cast of Bullet Train
Brad Pitt leads the ensemble cast of Bullet Train

Bullet Train was a lot of fun. I took the train into Philadelphia from NJ, which I felt was appropriate since the film takes place mostly on a train. However, PATCO is nothing like the bullet trains they have in Tokyo and I hope one day we could get there. That being said, you didn’t come to read about transportation; you came to read about the newest action film starring Brad Pitt, along with an impressive ensemble cast of crazy characters. While the cast is great, the movie as a whole should have felt as fast as the train it was taking place on.

Bullet Train Review

Bad Bunny and Brad Pitt star in Bullet Train.
Bad Bunny and Brad Pitt star in Bullet Train.

We get thrown into this crazy world of assassins courtesy of director David Leitch. He’s made quite a name for himself in action the last few years with John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs and Shaw, along with producing Nobody. He takes that style of action and puts it on a bullet train, and for the most part it works. As a whole though, the film is more action than substance; we get little glimpses of backstory for some of these crazy characters and it’s appreciated, but it also slows down the pace of the film. I feel like it would have been more effective as a real-time film being 20-30 minutes shorter.

Joey King stars in Bullet Train.
Joey King stars in Bullet Train.

Brad Pitt is having a lot of fun as Ladybug, a reluctant assassin who is working on his own issues in therapy. He’s also incredibly unlucky and manages to find ways to kill people without trying. Pitt is very funny and charming when given the right material, much like his character in The Lost City; Ladybug is more carefree and quirky, which plays well on screen.

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Joey King does a nice job as well playing the innocent schoolgirl, even though she isn’t someone to be trifled with on the train. She doesn’t get to do as much action as she did in The Princess, but her character serves the purpose of the story. I also love getting to see Hiroyuki Sanada on screen; he gets his time to shine, but I wanted more of his character throughout the film.

Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in Bullet Train.
Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in Bullet Train.

The highlight of the film though is the pairing of Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor Johnson as Lemon and Tangerine, a pair of British assassin brothers (yes, you read that correctly). They have such great chemistry and banter on screen and I could watch them quip for days. Lemon is my personal favorite because of the method he uses to read people, which is hilarious but a little overused at times (I won’t spoil it). There are also some hilarious cameos as well, which are surprising and yet not surprising at the same time.

Overall, this is exactly the kind of summer movie we need right now. I think audiences will love it and it will have some legs at the box office, at least for the rest of August. It does drag at times, but when the action is going it’s a lot of fun with some great comedic performances. It’s definitely not for kids (some of the action gets graphic), but I can see it being a fun date movie that will give you plenty to talk about afterwards!


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Written by Elliott Wishnefsky

Elliott Wishnefsky is a Film/TV Critic for FandomWire and a member of the Critics Choice Association. He's a graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Elliott is also a content creator for his own brand, Learning at the Movies! Twitter: @Learning_Movies | Facebook/Instagram: @learningatthemovies | TikTok: @learningatthemovies