“Bullet train”: the review of the new film with Brad Pitt

Directed by David Leitch, “Bullet train“Is an action comedy / thriller film inspired by the novel”The seven killers of the Shinkansen”By the writer of Japanese nationality Kotaro Isaka. The cast includes well-known actors from the world of cinema, such as Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Logan Lerman, Michael Shannon And Ryan Reynolds… Even if the role of some of them is reduced only to the appearance of a few minutes (in the case of Reynolds we can even say a few seconds).

The plot is simple: a former hitman, codenamed Ladybug (or literally “ladybug”, a name that, as you will discover, suits him perfectly), interpreted by Brad Pitt, receives a task of fundamental importance to which he must fulfill in place of a sick colleague: get on the fast Japanese Shinkansen train, and, first of the last stop, find a mysterious briefcase that is somewhere on board the vehicle. A job that at first glance appears easy and quick, but which from the very beginning will prove to be anything but such. Because on that train there are other very dangerous killers who, some for one reason and some for another, will be willing to do anything to have that same suitcase in their hands.

“Bullet train”: a particular film, which attracts and entertains, but not only

Reading the synopsis, you immediately understand what the setting of almost the entire film is: the interior of the Shinkansen. This could give the idea of ​​a boring and banal film, but it is not.
Bullet trainIn fact, it manages to keep the spectator’s attention high for all its more than two hours of duration; it does so thanks to a skilful blend of actionwhich branches off between daring escapes and fist fights to the death, and of exchange of words between the characters.
But let us specify immediately: if you are looking for the classic thriller film that is constantly dark and gloomy in which the conversations are always set and serious, then “Bullet train“Is not really for you.
Because in it the dominant element is only one: the irony. In the most delicate moments, in the most adrenal ones and even in those closest to eternal demise, the jokes are wasted and in my opinion (although I am not a great lover of the comedy genre) they are not even bad, shadowed by a thin veil of black humor which, however, is neither excessive nor disturbing, and does not clash at all with the situation in which our “heroes” find themselves.

brad pitt bulle train
Brad Pitt (aka Ladybug) in a scene from the film.

But among the many laughs, in this film there is also room for emotionsand if we want also for the deeper reflections on social and existential issuessuch as the difficult father-daughter relationship, the desire for revenge against those who, with carelessness and arrogance, destroyed an entire family, the concern of a father for his dying son, for whom he would do anything , even become a criminal.

This is in my opinion a very positive element of the film: the main characters. We know very little about them, it’s true, there are hours and hours of flashbacks in which we are told every detail of their past life and the reasons that led them to be as they became, practically not even their real names are revealed to us. , yet they have something particular, which captures and attracts, each in its own way, with its strengths and weaknesses.
Because basically thinking about it Tangerine, Lemon, Prince, the father And Ladybug they are not much more than simple puppets manipulated by others, and catapulted by them into a situation far greater than themselves, from which to emerge whole – spiritually and physically – it’s really very, very difficult.
What then captures this film – and which in my opinion represents its greatest and main strength – it’s the way these same characters interact with each otheroften united by connections which they themselves realize only later, and which constitute real twists.
The ending, then, is in line with the entire work: a mix of action and melancholy sprinkled with black comedy.

From a stylistic point of view, however, “Bullet train”Is very reminiscent of the films of the master Quentin Tarantino, of which he also resumes the construction of some scenes; a film therefore not suitable for the most sensitive people, as in it violence and blood are elements of the house, even if, in my opinion, they are not excessively splattered, disturbing or lacking in context, thrown in just to make a show.

Speaking then of soundtrackwe cannot fail to mention the very famous “Stayin ‘alive“Of the Bee Gees and”Holding out for a hero”By Bonnie Tyler… but revisited in a Japanese key, a perfect choice given the setting of the film.

In conclusion, “Bullet train“Is a funny and entertaining film, which does not engage the mind too much and also leaves some space for reflections and emotion (how beautiful are the brothers Tangerine and Lemon?), between scenes that are sometimes a bit trashy and exaggerated and unexpected but all in all coherent events.

bullet train scene
Brain Tyree Hanry (Lemon) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Tangerine) in a scene from the film.

And when the credits appear (I recommend you do not leave the room immediately as there is a post credit scene), you suddenly realize a life lesson that this film has left behind: it doesn’t matter if you are a Thomas, a Percy or an Edward; the important thing is to get to the end of the race… and not be a Diesel.

Little final tip dispassionate: if you loved this film and you have already recovered the book to which it is inspired, which we talked about at the beginning of the article (“The Seven Killers of the Shinkansen” by Kotaro Isaka), you just can’t help but read the author’s second book as well , published this summer: “The Revenge of Professor Suzuki“, A strange story also in which the lives of the characters are intertwined with each other in a crescendo of tension and twists.

But now it’s your turn: have you seen “Bullet train”? What do you think about it? Do you agree with my views or not? Let us know all of this in the comments below!

The review

“Bullet train”


  • Nice jokes alternating with more intense and exciting moments
  • Crazy characters who, however, strike
  • Lots of action and few dead moments
  • Numerous twists


  • Some scenes and jokes that are a bit exaggerated and trashy
  • Many scenes of violence and blood, not suitable for an easily impressionable audience

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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