Showdown in Kyoto

Bullet Train

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Sandra Bullock, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Logan Lerman

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Running Time: 2 hours and 6 minutes

Based upon the novel by Kotaro Isaka, Dead Pool 2 director David Leitch stitches together a complex crime film in Bullet Train featuring a lot of dialogue and some bizarre action sequences, referencing Pulp Fiction but set on a high speed train from Tokyo to Kyoto involving a group of very weird assassins including the twins Lemon and Tangerine wonderfully played by Brian Tyree Henry and Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals), the Hornet played by Zazie Beetz (Joker) and the main star Ladybug played with charisma by Oscar winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).

Bullet Train involves a sinister crime boss named White Death, a Russian emigrant who infiltrates the Yakuza or Japanese organized crime and the length he goes to to draw out his arch rival The Elder, played with panache by Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat, Mr Holmes, The White Countess) and the Elder’s son Kimura played by Andrew Koji.

As the Bullet Train speeds from the Japanese capital of Tokyo to the artistic capital Kyoto, a menagerie of assassins appear on board including Lemon and Tangerine, The Prince played by Joey King and Ladybug whose simple task it is to steal a briefcase filled with cash and alight at the next station. Literally everything goes wrong, from bad guys drinking sleeping tablets to an escaped boomslang slithering through the high tech train.

Using multiple flashbacks to such places as Mexico and Johannesburg to establish backstory, the assassins square off against each other, as one by one they get eliminated or so we think, as they speed ever faster with deadly efficiency to the showdown in Kyoto whereby The Elder is going to meet The White Death.

Fortunately Brad Pitt’s charm carries Bullet Train to its thrilling conclusion amidst lots of witty dialogue, the occasional samurai sword, many guns and an errant poisonous snake. Amidst all the nuanced innuendo’s and gory action, there is a complicated plot which unravels itself like a boa constrictor killing everything in its path.

With flashes of anime, traditional Japanese imagery and sparkling with originality, Bullet Train is a fascinatingly bizarre film with sufficient action and fight sequences to keep audiences glued to the screen. Of particular note is the brilliantly choreographed fight sequence between Tangerine and Ladybug played by Aaron Taylor Johnson and Brad Pitt.

If audiences are looking for a weirdly entertaining film filled with cameo appearances, gory action and an exotic location, then buy a ticket for Bullet Train and make sure not to disembark before the showdown in Kyoto. It’s a riveting ride.

Bullet Train gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and will find an audience that enjoys quirky action with strangers fighting each other on a high speed locomotive.

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