Bullet Train

Why can’t NJ Transit be this fast and exciting?

Frankly, my dear, “Bullet Train” doesn’t give a damn. It doesn’t give a damn about the violence, it doesn’t give a damn about the language, it doesn’t give a damn about the production expenses, and it doesn’t give a damn about the critics. It gives a damn about how much fun director David Leitch and his A-list cast-lead by Brad Pitt-had while making this non-stop lark.

Transitioning from the Japanese Book “Maria Beetle,” which was published in English as “Bullet Train,” the movie has a satirical attitude that loves R-rated action movies with a wicked sense of humor and a lot of effects and stunts and so forth.

It’s ironic considering that I recently panned “The Gray Man” for toying with its big stars and relying on cliches and crashes and fights to bring in its Netflix audience. I understand why streamers would watch that piece of crapola, but I still warned them otherwise. “Bullet Train” is a real contrast to that bomb, because of its attitude and versatility. It knows how to entertain.

Pitt plays an American assassin, who is nicknamed “Ladybug” by his handler Maria Beetle (Sandra Bullock), because of how he’s able to survive any unlucky situation. Though throughout the picture, he believes he’s unlucky. He’s pulled back in the game to retrieve a briefcase full of money on bullet train heading from Tokyo to Kyoto.

He has his hands full with a number of assassins, whose objectives are connected to a ruthless Russian criminal known as White Death (Michael Shannon). There’s two blokes: Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who curses like a sailor, and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), who uses “Thomas the Tank Engine” characters to distinguish people.

For example: Diesel represents the bad guys. I was a big “Thomas” fan as a kid, so it’s a nice little throwback.

There’s also the Wolf (Bad Bunny), a Mexican assassin, who wants revenge for the death of his bride.

Next, we have the Japanese assassin named Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji), whose little boy was pushed off a roof. His father (Hiroyuki Sanada) warns him that he control fate. He’s probably right, when Yuichi is found at emotional gunpoint by the young British assassin named Prince (Joey King), who has a schoolgirl outfit and a Susan Egan hairstyle. She has something to do with his little boy’s injury. And BTW, she was named Prince, by her parents, who wanted a son.

And then, we have the American assassin Hornet (Zazie Beetz), who isn’t as prepared as she thought she was.

Man, am I using the word “assassin” a lot in this review, but “Bullet Train” loves all kind of assassins.

I do give a damn if the story is easy to follow or not, but I still saw for all the things that neither “The Gray Man” nor “The Man from Toronto” offered. “Bullet Train” is playing in theaters, and not on Netflix, so you’re either going to enjoy the action and comedy provided within, or you’re going to walk about aggravated by how the story takes place. I, myself, enjoyed this escapism from some of the torture I’ve suffered through in recent bombs, and saw a number of bloody things.

I laughed at the “Thomas” references, the cameos (blank and blank), and how desperate the movie is at using CGI effects and production values to pull the train completely off the rails.

But mostly, I was entertained by how Pitt is given a Ryan Reynolds attitude, how dirty Taylor-Johnson’s mouth is, how comical Henry is, how ballsy King is, and how Bullock makes a shaper handler than Ellen Barkin in “The Man from Toronto.” Thank God she isn’t a villain, because that cliche has been getting old and exhausting.

Kudos to Leitch for reflecting on the action and vulgarity he gave in “Deadpool 2,” and for being more fearless than he was in his last film “Hobbs & Shaw.” He was uncredited as the co-director of the original “John Wick,” though his name was credited as a producer. We have to thank him for helping to bring that franchise to life. I’d like to thank him for relieving the pain I’ve suffered through “The Gray Man.”

All aboard the “Bullet Train!”

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Categories: Action, Thriller

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