Bullet Train follows five assassins who all find themselves on a fast-moving bullet train and realize that their individual assignments are connected to each other. Pitt stars opposite Sandra Bullock as Ladybug and Ladybug’s handler Maria Beetle, respectively. The film’s ensemble cast is pretty impressive, though filled with interesting choices for an adaptation of a novel that is infused with satirical humor and the perils and pitfalls of some of the worst assassins and hitmen in Japan. In addition to Pitt and Bullock, Bullet Train Joey King as the Prince, who happens to be a psychopathic killer; Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiasts Lemon and Tangerine; Zazie Beetz as Hornet, Michael Shannon, Logan Lerman, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Masi Oka, and Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio.
The novel, which was originally entitled Maria Bītoru (Maria Beetle) takes place aboard the high-speed Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Morioka, Japan, which seems to have been renamed the Nippon Speed Line for the adaptation. The novel feels like a perfect blend of Murder on the Orient Express and John Wick, mixed with Isaka’s specific satirical tone that meshes nicely with the heart-pumping action. But will the live-action adaptation live up to that lofty comparison?
Our Source’s own Maggie Lovitt and Ross Bonaime shared their thoughts on the film, with Lovitt referencing the “kickass” soundtrack and the invigorating nature of the film, while Bonaime pointed out that it’s impossible not to have fun with the film.
But how does it stand up to the rest of the critics? Bullet Train appears to be a divisive one, with some critics really loving it, while others couldn’t quite handle the long, winding journey the fast-paced bullet train takes audiences on. Laura Sirikul said the film left her in stitches, highlighting the chaotic energy of the film.
Kate Sánchez praised the film for being “wild” and shared that it made her excited to read the book. Which was a sentiment similarly echoed by Ashley Saunders who called the film “wild,” while praising the brilliant cast and directorial choices.
Leo Rydel also praised the cast and the cameos (which we won’t spoil, because you really have to see them to believe them!) Erik Davis similarly praised the cast, while calling attention to Brian Tyree Henry’s stellar performance as Lemon.
On the other side of the line, a number of critics did not enjoy Leitch’s fast-paced and chaotic train ride. Jeff Zhang called the film “smug” and “clunky,” while Scott Mantz shared that the film left him “bored” and “exhausted.” Others, like Jason Bailey, compared the film to Smokin’ Aces, and not in a complimentary way.
Bullet Train pulls into the station on August 5. Check out the trailer down below: