An assassin with the code name Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is tasked with a simple ‘smash and grab’ mission. Board the bullet train to Kyoto, steal a briefcase and get off. The only problem is that there are a number of other assassins on the train with their own agendas.
Bullet Train is a very funny, very stylish and very cool film filled with mannered introductions and flashbacks for its many characters and a knowing disregard for realism and physics that frankly just adds to the fun.
Brad Pitt’s Ladybug believes that he is riddled with bad luck, whilst his handler (Sandra Bullock charming us all as just a disembodied voice) tries to convince him not to give up the lifestyle. Also on the train are brothers Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) who hail from West Ham and bicker in cockney accents whilst discussing the merits of Thomas the Tank Engine, The Prince (Joey King) who uses an innocent young girl facade to hide her deadly ways and The Father (Andrew Koji) who is trying to find the person who threw his son from a building. There are also a swathe of cameos and bit parts that feature Logan Lerman, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Zazie Beetz, Masi Oka, Karen Fukuhara and Hiroyuki Sanada making it an all star romp before a couple of uncredited surprises appear.
Everyone does a great job with what they have but it’s probably worth calling out Pitt and Taylor-Johnson especially for their charismatic and hilarious antics. It seems a wonder to me that Taylor-Johnson especially is not in more films and never seems to be the lead either.
There are some allusions to fate and our acceptance of it and it is quite a fun idea to have Ladybug believe they have horrendous luck when it actually seems to be everyone around him that is suffering from it. But aside from that tiny concession there is no deeper meaning here. This is about having a lot of crazy fun onboard a bullet train and director David Leitch, most famous for John Wick and Deadpool 2 does a fantastic job. The fight scenes are intricate and inventive in their tight confines and the style and verve seems like early Guy Ritchie.
Hang around for a mid credits scene and have lots of fun!