Bullet Train with Brad Pitt — murder on the Osaka express

Stuntman-turned-director David Leitch and leading man Brad Pitt, bring us ‘Bullet Train’, a thrilling non-stop action comedy about competing assassins on Japan's Shinkansen.
Some of us have a nasty habit of expecting too much from the movies we choose to see. Blame it all on Marvel’s end-credit scenes if you want, but films must have a cost value in regards to how they make you feel in the moment. We also expect big-screen entertainment to constantly blow our minds when, in truth, a film can just be a fun diversion. That’s the case with Brad Pitt’s newest effort, Bullet Train. It’s a fun movie, even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheels on which it’s running. Not that it ever had to.
Based on the Japanese novel by Kōtarō Isaka, Bullet Train follows philosophical assassin and retrieval man Ladybug (played by Pitt) as he accepts a quick job aboard a bullet train bound from Tokyo to Kyoto. Guided by his handler Maria (Sandra Bullock), Ladybug’s straightforward gig takes a left turn as it transpires that the train is full of other assassins all pursuing their own targets and agendas.
This line-up includes fraternal duo Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, a supposedly innocent Joey King, a vengeful Benito A Martìnez Ocasio (aka Bad Bunny), a sinister Zazie Beetz, and father-and-son powerhouse duo Hiroyuki Sanada and Andrew Koji. But even more nefarious individuals emerge from the baggage compartments as the journey continues, and Ladybug finds himself in the middle of a criminal conspiracy that threatens to derail everything around him.
Director David Leitch is juggling dozens of plot points and twists thanks to the high amount of character work going on. One wouldn’t be surprised to watch this film collapse under its ambition, but when going into Bullet Train with the expectation that it’s just going to be a disposable stunt-laden action comedy, there’s a surprise in discovering its many layers.
Let’s be clear, Leitch is heavily leaning into the ways of his prior projects. The comedy is reminiscent of Deadpool 2 (without being excruciatingly meta) and the more absurd elements of the plot would sit well in another Hobbs & Shaw outing. The movie also wears its inspirations on its sleeve, as it combines a little bit of Kill Bill sword fighting with some Knives Out mystery for good measure. Meanwhile, given the Japanese setting, the cinematography style can very easily be attributed to popular anime. ...