And this is why we don’t put too much of a movie into the trailers because, in this film’s case, they actually did more justice to what I thought I’d be getting than the actual movie itself ended up delivering on.
Following Ladybug (Brad Pitt), a mercenary who isn’t exactly thrilled to be taking on a job that sees him boarding the movie’s titular mode of transportation, Bullet Train is an action comedy that revolves around a group of assassins all caught up in the same adrenaline-fueled assignment. Fighting over a mysterious briefcase that holds ties to a shady organization, Ladybug’s train trip soon becomes much harder to pull off as more and more people vying for the case cross his path, each looking to ruin his mission or even kill him dead. What follows is a fun and sometimes funny flick that’s all about forward momentum and what happens when a job goes wrong in the most spectacular way.
First things first: despite its flaws and missteps that we’ll get to later, this movie is a mostly entertaining flick, so if you were wondering whether or not you’ll enjoy it, my answer is a definite yes. But if you’re wondering if it’s a good movie otherwise, well, that needs a bit more explaining.
Directed by Deadpool 2’s David Leitch, Bullet Train retains the spirit of that film in an immediately appealing way yet ultimately never hits the highs that movie pulled off seemingly with ease. Wrapped in a story that’s serviceable at best, the real draw of this film comes from the fun action beats along with a sense of humor that somewhat works, just not in a way that always hits its intended mark.
Giving audiences a Brad Pitt in full-on action mode mixed with a characterization that plays to his everyman sensibilities, the cast is hands down the best part of the movie, even if the script and general filmmaking let them down in the long run. Feeling more like a high-octane version of any number of genre movies that lean on their quirkiness to color in the world around its characters, Bullet Train never finds the balance between said quirkiness, its action, story, or humor in a way that I can fully commend, especially when the hook, look, and general feel of the film draws you into an experience that I realized far too late wasn’t going to deliver on its initial promise.
It’s not that I didn’t like Bullet Train — because I most certainly did — it’s just that I came away from it underwhelmed in a way that might not have happened had the filmmaking picked a lane and stayed in it. Sure, it’s full of action and some laughs, but it does neither well enough to call the formula a true success by the time the credits rolled, despite the effort made. Otherwise, I want Brad Pitt in more action flicks and movies in general, so I’ll take a sequel should they feel the need to pump one out.