Review: Bullet Train

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A frenzied conglomeration of increasingly silly humor, unlimited out-of-place carnage, and questionable accents leads to quite a messy Bullet Train, a film rescued by the performances of Brad Pitt, Brian Tyree Henry, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and hindered by just about everything else.

In Bullet Train, an assassin (Pitt) hops a train to complete a job that ends up throwing him into the middle of a group of equally devious and violent foes all attempting to meet their own objectives no matter what. David Letich’s latest is a confusing outing that is frustrating from the start with a seemingly disconnected story that doesn’t have a payoff until much later. Pitt is quite funny and enjoyable in his even-tempered assassin role, but the writing doesn’t do him (nor his costars) any favors. More often than not, the jokes are belabored, the film itself eventually becoming an exhausting adventure that needed to get off at the prior stop. While you’re attempting to piece the elements of the story together and find any and all connections, you may find yourself distracted by Tyree Henry’s accent work, the unbelievability of Joey King’s character as a whole, or the sudden emergence of Bad Bunny for a quick pop-in to produce a convenient connection for the story to advance on. There’s just so much going on.

Bullet Train has its fun moments; when the humor works, it really works and the action is exciting and mostly fresh. The cinematography is also notable for a modern, fast-paced, sharp style that holds your attention along with the upbeat score while the acting is, for the most part, commendable (Tyree Henry and Taylor-Johnson steal the show). Though there are a few cameos that are fun, they felt unearned and unnecessary. It’s all wrapped up in a strange package of a film that has elements that are reminiscent of Smoking’ Aces and Zombieland, though it’s a far cry from those two films. I don’t know if audiences are expected to laugh all of the way to the end or care about any of the characters, but Bullet Train fell short on both fronts for me. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. 

Bullet Train hits theaters this Friday.

Rating: 2/5

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