Bullet Train

Follow Brad Pitt stuck on a Shinkansen train packed with assassins

Cinema and literature lovers know, throughout history, that bad things happen on trains: from Murder on the Orient Express to Snowpiercer and Train To Busan, several and different stories made the fortune of this means of transport.

That’s why, a Shinkansen (a Japanese high-speed “bullet train”) is the set of the events of Bullet Train, the new film by American director David Leitch that will be released in the United States on August 5, 2022, by Sony Pictures and in Italy on August 25 distributed by Warner Bros.

Halfway between thriller and action comedy, Bullet Train is based on Kōtarō Isaka’s best-selling novel Maria Beetle: set in the present day, the films follows a group of assassins traveling on a high-speed train, which will begin a non-stop run through Japan.

Brad Pitt plays a killer, code name: Ladybug, who is hired to collect a briefcase on the train that goes from Tokyo to Kyoto, with very few stops in between. However, the Shinkansen is packed with other assassins like him: there is a challenge among them and it takes little time to understand that they have opposing but connected goals. The main purpose, however, will be one: staying alive and find out who is waiting for them at the terminus.

Described by some critics as a mix between Snatch and Kill Bill, Bullet Train perhaps gets more ideas from recent Japanese cinema: colors, violence and action scenes recall some of Takashi Miike’s “pop” films, Kinji Fukusaku’s Battle Royale, also borrowing some additional inspiration from mangas. The screenplay, by Zak Olkewicz, supports much of the film even if the exceptional performances of the actors take the viewers to the end. Bullet Train, as the title says, takes place mainly on a train but, nevertheless, it is not claustrophobic: the visual dynamism, that comes before the physical performance and a sort of lightness in the background makes even the violent scenes less demanding for the viewers.

Leitch, who directed blockbusters like Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 (he also co-directed John Wick), shows familiarity with all the elements at stake, putting together a good ensemble film with a high-level cast: Brad Pitt can enjoy the company of Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon and other well-known actors (who have a cameo or small roles) that we won’t mention not to spoil the surprise.

Bullet Train is a must-see film for action thriller fans, for Japanese cinema lovers and it’s easy to imagine its success on the oriental market: Asians will love to see international stars in such a visually satisfying and familiar context.


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