Hardly any filmography is as peppered with mega-blockbusters as his. Fight Club, The Mexican, Ocean’s Eleven, Spy Game, Troy, Deadpool 2. Moment! Deadpool 2? Oh, surely you thought we were talking about Brad Pitt. No, we’re talking about one of those heroes who, on camera, double superstars like Brad Pitt – and the ones we all adore – in the most dangerous action scenes and rarely get applause for their work. The stuntmen and stuntwomen. Howsoever, in this case, we’re talking about David Leitch. He has already taken the rap for Brad Pitt five times and rehearsed for the team and the audience’s breathtaking fight scenes with him. Now fate is fulfilled. Because at aged 58, Brad Pitt can show what he has learned from Leitch. So, he really let it rip on the screen in the massive action spectacle BULLET TRAIN.
A LADYBUG (BRAD PITT) IN A BULLET TRAIN
The contract killer Ladybug is at the climax of a mid-life crisis. He feels very unlucky. Even if he doesn’t mean to kill somebody, he harms others. Therefore, he questions what he is doing. Hence, he only wants to take on jobs where nobody gets hurt from now.
But he doesn’t even like the simple suitcase escort that his contact person commissions him to do. Nevertheless, Ladybug takes over the job for a sick colleague. Can contract killers be called colleagues? Anyway, Ladybug enters the Bullet Train to look for the suitcase.
The Bullet Train is a state-of-the-art vehicle. It’s more like a space shuttle. The train not only rushes from station to station at incredible speed. Aside from the absent-minded Ladybug, it’s also full of strange characters.
THE BULLET TRAIN CHARACTERS (CAST)
TANGERINE (AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON) AND LEMON (BRIAN TYREE)
There were, for the first, the twins Tangerine and Lemon. Fate, an order from a top villain, also led these funny hitmen onto the Bullet Train. Lemon is obsessed with the Lessons from Thomas the Tank Engine. He reflects the properties of the characters from the British Railway series on the people around him. That really annoys his brother. So, there are insane discussions between the two twins. Besides, they couldn’t be more different in general. However, what really unites them is their job and unconditional love for each other.
No question, it’s a real feast listening to British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson speaking English. Because his performance secretly sneaks a touch of Monty Python into Bullet Train. Mainly, we know Aaron as the lovable anti-hero Kick-Ass. He also performed in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Brian Tyree is from North Carolina. He starred in Godzilla vs. Kong, Atlanta, Joker, Hotel Artemis, and Eternals, to name a few of his achievements. Soon, he will also appear in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. So he remains loyal to Sony.
THE HORNET (ZAZIE BEETZ)
The next assassin fated to lead onto the Bullet Train is Hornet. And she’s very toxic. Howsoever, as we know, one should end toxic relationships quickly. Maybe Ladybug will be lucky by doing so. Whatever, with The Hornet’s appearance, it’s getting more and more exciting to experience how everything is closely connected.
Ultra-pretty Zazie experiences such an impressive career. During her Berlin visit to promote Deadpool 2, we got to know her grandpa. He was so modest and happy about the success of his granddaughter. However, Zazie appears also down-to-earth and very likable. Meanwhile, she has appeared in blockbusters like The Harder They Fall and Joker (both in 2021). In the latter, as well as in Atlanta, she already played together with Brian Tyree. While in Deadpool 2, she got to know David Leitch and his preference for oversized comic dolls.
THE WOLF (BAD BUNNY)
The list of bizarre characters doesn’t end here.
Because with The Wolf, another assassin enters the Bullet Train. The Wolf is a spicy mix of Elvis, a Texas cowboy, and a Central American gangsta. What is behind his fate? Moreover, will it be sealed in the Bullet Train?
Bad Bunny is best known to fans of Latin Trap. The rapper and singer has had great success with his albums Un Verano Sin Ti, YHLQMDLG, and El Último Tour Del Mundo. Now, the handsome Puerto Rican also cuts a fine figure as an action actor.
PRINCE (JOEY KING)
Also, the cute Prince joins the party. Of course, we will not reveal why fate chose this name for the pretty girl. In any case, Prince knows how to find her way in every situation.
The 23-year-old Californian first gained recognition for portraying Ramona Quimby in the comedy film Ramona and Beezus. However, she gained wider recognition for her lead role in the three parts of The Kissing Booth.
THE ELDER (HIROYUKI SANADA) & YUICHI KIMURA (ANDREW KOJI)
The Bullet Train races through Japan. Meanwhile, young Yuichi Kimura is also trying to follow his fate. He also works for dark forces. But just until the day somebody pushes his son off the roof. Yuichi hopes to catch the culprit on the bullet train.
His father, called The Elder, on the other hand, accuses his son of not being a good father. The Elder is wise and full of dignity. He looks back on a sad story and the opportunity to help not only his son. Rather, his fate could also be fulfilled in the Bullet Train.
Hiroyuki Sanada isn’t just a superstar in Japan. Hardly anyone else embodies the Japanese spirit more than the actor, born in Shinagawa City, Tokyo. Because of his fascinating nature, he has already inspired us in The Last Samurai, 47 Ronin, Mortal Kombat, Avengers: Endgame, or The Wolverine. Andrew Kimura is an English actor. We know him from G.I. Joe: Ever know Vigilant, Snake Eyes, and Warrior.
MARIA BEETLE (SANDRA BULLOCK)
The circle is closed with the appearance of Maria Beetle. She is the only one not to board the Bullet Train. Ladybug’s contact person is also, in a way, his therapist. Thus, even if she isn’t on the train, she is with Ladybug the entire time. Just in her way.
Like Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock has also announced that she will soon no longer be acting in films. It shows personality. Because maybe she decides to go down other artistic paths. However, maybe it’s also because the American film business too often doesn’t leave enough room for women to age authentically. In Great Britain, personalities like Judy Dench or Maggie Smith have the chance to show how beautiful old age can be. Let’s hope that this will soon be the case everywhere.
Anyway, we don’t need to talk much about Sandra Bullock. After all, since Speed, where she starred on the side of Keanu Reeves, she’s proved that she’s not just a beautiful woman. Much more, she is an extraordinary actress. Listing all her films would take too long. But a tip is The Lost City, which will be available on Blu-Ray soon. Again, she plays alongside Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum.
DAVID LEITCH (PRODUCER & DIRECTOR)
Today, David Leitch is a successful producer and director. His film Bullet Train will be another super hit in his filmography. Aside from those already mentioned, films like Atomic Blonde (2017), starring Charlize Theron, and by far the best sequel to the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw (2019), starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, rank here.
However, David’s origins lie in stunt work. Of course, this is recognizable in all his films. Probably, he was – like many others then – inspired by a series from the 80s.
The Fall Guy, so the name of the series, showed the life of stuntman Colt Seavers. Due to the rare jobs and generally poor pay, Seavers often had to earn his living as a bounty hunter.
This series became an absolute cult and a blockbuster. The characters became heroes of an entire generation worldwide. While the boys were in love with Jody (Heather Thomas), the girls adored Howie (Douglas Barr).
In September 2020, David Leitch signed a contract with Universal Pictures to direct and produce The Fall Guy for cinemas. The film will star Ryan Gosling. Fits. Because Gosling already played a stuntman in his first mega-hit Drive. Thus, we can certainly not only look forward to a lot of action but also a lot of emotions and personal views from a stuntman’s perspective.
BULLET TRAIN – THE RESUME
For years, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have been showing what happens when stuntmen really get going, both in front of and behind the camera. They swapped the seat belt for the director’s chair and show us extremely fast-paced action cinema at its finest.
Hardly ever before has a film been faster. But this is not only due to the speed with which the train rushes through Japan. In fact, David Leitch and his team don’t give us any single breather.
Especially in the first half, Bullet Train shines with ultra-cool time jumps. They let us delve deeper into the history of some of the characters. The puns between tangerine and lemon are literally delicious. David Leitch makes killers human. He shows their weaknesses and naivety, which always leads to funny scenes.
THE ACTION & COMEDY
Similar to Deadpool 2, Leitch relies on subtle comedy. Rarely, you will laugh out loud. Instead, Bullet Train leaves us grinning in the cinema seat for 126 minutes.
Besides, it’s also the same with the soundtrack. Because when evergreens from the 80s suddenly underline the fast-paced action in Japanese versions, it gets really cool.
The action sets standards. Of course, there is a lot of CGI in the film. But it’s not overloaded. All scenes are impressively choreographed. Also impressive is the freshness of Brad Pitt, who – at the age of 58 – should still melt all women’s hearts. My goodness, he looks so f… good.
THE CREW IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND THE CAMERA OF BULLET TRAIN
But not only does he cut an excellent figure. The entire cast is beyond brilliant. The actors literally suck us into the action with their performance. They are all very different types, which makes the film even more worth seeing.
The only point of criticism is the lack of authenticity. But who is looking for that in an action comedy? Especially since many scenes that don’t seem so logical in the course of the story resolve their meaning at the end. The story is simple but brilliant. However, the storylines are so complex that even Quentin Tarantino will be impressed.
Also, the well-designed fights are great. Since we know David Leitch’s own story, we are more impressed by the ingenious action scenes. Of course, they are over the top from time to time. But that’s just part of the style of the film, which accounts for its charm and character. In addition, these scenes are often just very funny. But, silent, please. We don’t quietly announce our conclusion. With Bullet Train, David Leitch and Brad Pitt present a film that offers everything that fans expect from an action film. And much more.
The thoughts about fate are sometimes very deep. Even if they amuse us, they also make us think at the same time. Because how likely is it that everything we experience, our actions, decisions, and behavior, are linked? We believe in fate and good karma. Therefore, with full conviction, we award 8.5 points for Bullet Train. Finally, the film comes to cinemas now. So have fun and fasten the seat belt well.
Text: Marco Kokkot
Images & Videos: © Sony Pictures 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Scene Images: © 2022 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.
Premiere: © Gerald Matzka/Getty Images for Sony Pictures
PhotoCall: © Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Sony Pictures