[FILM] Bullet Train

I had high expectations of David Leitch’s adaption of the novel Maria Beetle when it first aired in the cinemas but for some reason, forgot to watch it at that time. When it arrived on Netflix, needless to say, I gave the film a chance as soon as I can but after one hour in, I was left with mixed feelings.

Bullet Train has a rather ordinary plot: five assassins are on board a shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, unbeknown to others, and each has their own target or mission. The leading character “Ladybug” is portrayed by Brad Pitt and his handler (voiced and later revealed to be played by Sandra Bullock) ensures a smooth execution from afar. Other assassins include a Japanese yakuza member who seeks revenge for his son’s fall off a building; two British twins codenamed Lemon and Tangerine who were tasked to protect the wayward son of a Russian boss; a British female assassin disguised as a schoolgirl with hidden objectives; and one that specialises in poisoning her victims. With multiple hiccups along the way, the entire two hours were just about these characters trying to find ways to complete their objectives with minimal disruptions to the commuters onboard and without raising any flags.

Credits: https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/is-bullet-train-guilty-of-whitewashing/

What impressed me was the cinematography and editing. I loved the bright neon lights and tones used, the futuristic vibes it produced and the nostalgia it creates for every traveler who has been to Japan. The show screams of nothing but Tokyo. While I absolutely adore the looks of it, I for a moment was unsure when the film was set. Was it in modern-day 21st century Japan or the future?

Marketed as a comedy film, I do see some attempts of the film to be funny and for some parts, it felt almost like a Quentin Tarantino film, but they remain nothing but attempts. Bullet Train was not a comedy and neither was it a thriller — which was what I thought it was. At best it is just an unusual action film with a little twists and turns now and there.

Overall, Bullet Train has the potential to pass off as a must-watch film of 2022 with its excellent visuals, smooth editing, and quirky soundtrack, but to me the plot was thin and the film leverages heavily on every other aspects to sell.

Rating: 1 out of 3.

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