In Bullet Train, Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe – all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives – on the world’s fastest train.
Directed by David Leitch, Bullet Train brings a flamboyant approach to the action-comedy genre. Having directed films such as John Wick and Deadpool 2, Leitch demonstrates a familiar premise through the eyes of modern Japan, while delivering exciting action sequences with a star-studded cast. Unfortunately, Leitch’s latest film is weighed down by an overabundance of characters, stale storytelling, and weak narrative coherence.
As it chugs along at a sluggish pace, the action comedy spins its wheels without any meaningful dramatic substance beneath the surface. Despite its attempts at cultivating conflict between the characters, the film lacked any real emotional stakes to ground its highly stylised visuals, resulting in an experience that is wearing to watch.
With an impressive ensemble of actors, Bullet Train has all the right ingredients to develop an exciting ensemble film. Unfortunately, the presence of the remarkable cast is diminished by excessive quips, juvenile humour that’s designed to please the lowest common denominator. In Bullet Train, the extraordinary charisma of Ladybug is severely neutralised as most of the supporting characters were written to emulate the laidback persona effortlessly radiated by Pitt.
At its best, Bullet Train showcases Leitch’s knack for high octane action sequences brought to life through mastery over technical proficiency. Unfortunately, despite its action-packed ride full of carnage and recognisable faces, the film lost its way in an uninspiring script. With its self-destructing humour, shoddy visual effects, two-dimensional characters, Bullet Train rarely matches the high velocity of the vehicle it inhabits.