Bullet Train (2022) Movie Review
Bullet Train (2022) Movie Review

Bullet Train (2022) Movie Review

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When I first heard about Bullet Train, I thought it was a joke; after all, how could they turn this into an action film? This definitely has action and a lot of comedy, but does it work? Five assassins aboard a fast-moving bullet train discover that their missions have something in common. Brad Pitt leads a cast of assassins that includes Aaron Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree, Henry Joey King, Andrew Koji, Bad Bunny, Zazzy Beats, and Hi

All of the assassins are on this bullet train, each with their own goals, but they find out that they’re all connected in some way. There’s a bit of the movie Clue in this, with characters with code names like Ladybug Prince Lemon Tangerine, but the main plot isn’t a mystery.

There is a small bit of intrigue that plays out throughout the narrative  and our characters are then constantly on the move to try and find the piece that they’re all looking for. Pitt is phenomenal as a guy who’s had a sort of epiphany, and he really isn’t into violence anymore; now he’s all about peace and positivity.

But he also has a job to do, which is to recover an item. Now, I really enjoyed Pitt’s mannerisms and the phone conversations he has with his handler. His sly wit and excellent comedic timing shine, and there are brief moments where I saw the zaniness of his 12 Monkeys character come through in just some facial expressions and movements.

As the story progresses, we get to meet the characters  and I love the title treatments that we see for each person; it feels very much like a graphic novel come to life where the screen will freeze for just a moment and the character’s name will then flash on the screen. I also really enjoyed how we got the backstory on our different characters.

It’s told in quick succession; the narrative doesn’t waste time or even drag out the introductions; we just get to see the relevant actions and then bits of dialogue that inform who a character is and what their motivations or intentions might be. Brad Pitt is clearly the lead in this, but the rest of the cast gets massive moments to shine, particularly Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor Johnson.

They’re feisty, and their dynamic is awesome to watch, and they feed off of each other, building each other’s performance, and they’re also able to elicit really surprising compassion even though they’re bad guys, or maybe anti-heroes.

Now the camera switches back and forth between them, with each of the characters then centred in the frame and looking directly into the camera. It was a great effect to include us in the conversation  but it also just looked amazing. They also then contribute to the comedy of the film with sarcastic and snarky comebacks between them; Joey King is frustratingly great to watch.

I mean, we can tell that she’s not all she appears to be, but it’s aggravating when the other characters can’t pick up on it. Her pouty facial expressions and that “aw shucks” type of persona work to create an innocent-appearing savage. The rest of the assassins and characters that we see have much smaller roles and are in the film for less time, but they’re still entertaining to watch as well, and they help to add twists and complications to what Pit is trying to accomplish, and they usually also get to contribute massively to the crazy action.

This is all happening on a train, so the fights and battles are all close and cramped. While there are a lot of quick cuts, there are also a lot of scenes that show more of the scope and scale of a fight. This lets us see how good the fight choreography is. There’s a lot of physicality to what the characters go through, and it’s pretty realistic how they get tired and winded during a fight.

I wanted crazy action, and that’s what I got. However, some of the special effects aren’t all that great, especially at the end when the violence gets really bad. At this point, a lot of what’s happening looks pretty fake, but because I was so into the action, it didn’t take me out of the story.

This was probably the weakest point in the storytelling, but I’m not sure how else they would have given us all of the context in such a short amount of time, and it’s not that the exposition dump was bad; it just came across as obvious and unoriginal.

Now, I’m talking about the technique here, not the actual story, and I enjoyed how everything fit together. If you haven’t seen the most recent or the full trailer, I’d recommend not watching it before seeing the movie. The narrative builds up this air of awe and dread around a certain antagonist, and if you haven’t seen the trailer, you don’t know who this is, and I love that the suspense is built all throughout the movie as to who this

All of that goes out the window, which I think is a shame. Another problem I had, and it could have just been the theatre I saw it in, was that the audio mix sometimes made it hard to hear parts of the dialogue. At the beginning of the movie, Brad Pitt is on the phone, and I had trouble understanding what he was saying. Part of the problem was that he was mumbling, but there were also a lot of background noises that made it hard to hear.

This could have been the audio in my theater, but it was an IMAX presentation, and those are typically EQ’d appropriately for the room. The pace of this is quick and driving, filled with energy that rarely lessens the intensity, and there are a few quieter moments where a bit more drama comes into play, but the pace doesn’t slow down and I never felt the time despite this being a little over two hours.

There’s an uncredited cameo in this that I thought was awesome, and there’s also a small mid-credits scene, so don’t get up and rush out as soon as the credits start rolling. Overall, Bullet Train is a thrill ride of excitement, action, and comedy. The cast complements each other with their wit and sarcasm, and then dukes it out in some awesome fight sequences.

This is a movie I will definitely buy and watch over and over again because the cast is great, the fights are brutal, and the comedy is real. There’s sex, brief nudity, a lot of swearing, and almost non-stop violence. I give Bullet Train four and a half out of five couches. So what’s a recent action comedy you really liked?

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