Bullet Train | movie review
High speed hijinks.
Movie summary: Five assassins aboard a swiftly-moving bullet train find out that their missions have something in common. (IMDb)
As someone who's always up for a good action-comedy rollercoaster, I was eagerly looking forward to the release of Bullet Train last year. Unfortunately, life had other plans thanks to twelve months of shitty health issues, and I missed the chance to catch it on the big screen. However, I was finally able to catch it recently at home and it just made me wish I had seen it in the cinema with a packed crowd.
In case that last sentence didn't give it away, I really enjoyed this movie, especially its well-choreographed action sequences and the fun way it combined with the often-cartoonish humour. The ludicrously-stacked cast delivered fantastic performances too, with each actor bringing their own energy to the film to keep things interesting and entertaining. However, while Bullet Train is definitely entertaining, there were some issues that held it back from being truly exceptional.
While the entire cast delivered excellent performances, I do have to give a special shout-out to Brad Pitt, who once again proved his versatility and screen presence as the cool and collected hitman codenamed 'Ladybug' by his mysterious handler, much to his irritation. That being said, Pitt's performance was slightly overshadowed by the scene-stealing duo of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry as Tangerine and Lemon.
Their chemistry was electric, and their comedic timing was impeccable as two London hitmen who make every scene they're in so much fun to watch. Pitt might be the biggest name attached to the movie - possibly barring one or two cameos - but it was Taylor-Johnson and Henry who stole the show with their brilliant performances and I'd really love to see a prequel movie based around their characters.
The movie's biggest weakness is its length, with the story dragging on for longer than necessary due to how much the plot twists and turns, with some of them feeling unnecessary and detract from the overall enjoyment of the film towards the end. While there are some fun cameos that serve as surprises of their own, they feel somewhat shoehorned in and given more importance than they really deserve, at the expense of the core story.
Also, while Bullet Train features some impressive visuals at times, there are a few moments where the CGI work feels a bit lacklustre, particularly in some of the more spectacular sequences in the climax. That being said, the increasingly cartoonish nature of the characters and story means that the occasional dip in VFX quality isn't as big of a deal as it would be in a more serious movie.
It's worth noting that Bullet Train was originally intended to be a more straightforward action-thriller, so the fact that it leans into its more over-the-top elements is actually quite a clever move to cover up some of the technical failings. So while the VFX could have been stronger in some areas, it doesn't detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the film other than in those moments.
Bullet Train a fun, entertaining movie that delivers some enjoyable action sequences and memorable characters, particularly the scene-stealing duo of Tangerine and Lemon. While it has its flaws, including a n unnecessarily-convoluted plot and occasional VFX issues, it's still a decent way to spend a couple of hours. That being said, it might not hold up on repeat viewings when the twists and surprises won't have the same impact.