Bullet Train review – fast paced, fun, and relentlessly overstuffed

By M.N. Miller
Published: August 15, 2022 (Last updated: March 5, 2023)


Jump on board the Bullet Train. This is a big screen, fast-paced, fun, darkly comic, and relentlessly overstuffed adventure movie to entertain the masses.

This review of the film Bullet Train does not contain spoilers. 

You will have far worse cinematic experiences than David Leitch’s Bullet Train. It’s an action-packed, bloody thrill ride that satisfies anyone’s craving for mindless theatrical big studio fun. The cast is star-studded — the big-name cameos are plentiful and that’s a subplot in itself. However, the real sell here is ultra-laid back and amusing performances by the film’s magnetic lead.

Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin who always seeks peaceful negotiation out of any assignment. He needed therapy after a couple of his jobs, pun-intended, had gone off the rails in recent years. His next assignment takes him on the fastest modern locomotive in the history of our existence — the bullet train. A beast of a machine in Japan that can reach 320km per hour. However, when Ladybug feels his luck is going to change after finding the package he is supposed to intercept, as he tells his handler (from the voice, you will know who it is immediately), he is about to step off the train when he runs into an old enemy, Wolf (Narcos: Mexico’s and Rapper Bad Bunny). You see, Ladybug cannot get off this train. I mean, even Anne Ramsey got off hers at some point.

Instead of giving into unlucky thoughts, he feels something is not right. It’s now a game of hide and seek as he hides the briefcase’s original handlers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry). They came into the case’s possession when saving the son (Logan Lerman) of a notorious gangster, White Death (Michael Shannon). So, what’s the big deal? Why doesn’t Pitt’s Ladybug jump off at the next stop? The problem is he needs the package, but White Death keeps waiting for his mercenaries to deliver at every stop. (He can outrun a bullet train?). Why? Well, White Death has a personal issue with Ladybug. He keeps running into others who want the package, mainly involving a subplot with a former Yakuza called The Elder (a great Hiroyuki Sanada) and an assassin, The Prince (Joey King).

Based on the book by Kotaro Isaka and with an adaptation from Zak Olkewicz (Fear Street: Part 2 — 1978), Bullet Train is never more entertaining when focusing on Brad Pitt’s Ladybug and the action scenes involving his character. While the hand-to-hand combat never really reaches the levels of bone-crunching fun as Nobody or theJohn Wick franchise, much of it is played for well-executed laughs. Pitt has a surprising knack for physical comedy and dry delivery. I wish he tried more comedies. And since he is on record of being such a fan of Judd Apatow’s work, maybe we can make this happen.

READ: 10 Best Movies like Bullet Train

You will either love the cameos or find them too tiresome. With this being a movie just aimed to entertain, I think most will find them enjoyable. That being said, the action tends to be overwrought, and you cannot help but wonder if some of the subplots could have found their way to the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, I can see why that was a problem due to some of the high-profile cameos.

Bullet Train has its heart in the rate place because it just wants to offer viewers a fun time at the movies. A big screen, fast-paced, fun, darkly comic, and relentlessly overstuffed adventure movie to entertain the masses. While I was shocked someone brought their child — they couldn’t be more than eight years old, and now the parent will be saddled with well-earned therapist bills — I had no trouble jumping on board.

What did you think of the film Bullet Train? Comment below.

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