On August 11, the action movie “High Speed Train” will be released in Ukrainian cinemas. It is an adaptation of the novel “Maria Beetle” by the Japanese writer Kotaro Isaka. Even at first glance, the movie attracts at least a bright cast. World stars such as Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds and Hiroyuki Sanada played here, even in episodic and fleeting roles. And the trailers promised bright and stylish action. However, “High-Speed Train” gives much more than just well-staged fights of handsome actors. What exactly – find out from the review below.
Directed by David Leitch
Starring Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Kodzi
Release year 2022
The plot of the film tells about several hired killers who were brought together by fate on one high-speed train in Japan. All of them differ in bright characters, motives and views of the world, but the most important thing is the goals they pursue on the train. However, it quickly becomes clear that all the tasks of the assassins are interconnected, and every action of one person can lead to the fiasco of all others.
Thus begins a tense (but at the same time full of humor and dark irony) confrontation of professional killers who do not know what failures are. If you’re looking for cool action from Speed Train, it’s here – and even cooler than all the trailers have shown. David Leitch (Deadpool 2, The Fast and the Furious: Hobbes and Shaw) gets the absolute most out of every fight. In addition, it works equally well with large-scale skirmishes and with more local, but elegant and inventive duels.
But no one doubts Litchi as a director of fun action for a long time. Apparently, the director himself also guesses about it. Therefore, he decided to demonstrate his other talents in “High-Speed Train”.
For example, the film seemed as stylized as possible. Even if almost all the events in it take place in the camera locations of the train cars, the picture still turns out to be diverse. All because of different approaches to cinematography, color correction and other technical nuances that create a unique mood for each scene. And the numerous flashbacks here are designed for various movie genres, so you can easily recognize samurai epics, classic action movies and even elements of Tarantino in them.
And all such moments in the cinema are not things in themselves, but full-fledged strokes of a large-scale picture of the plot. This is another achievement of Leitch as a director. He created not just a beautiful but meaningless extravaganza, but a real puzzle in which every detail is important. Even an ordinary bottle of water can eventually turn out to be a full-fledged “hero” of the story – and it will feel harmonious and logical.
The characters of “High-Speed Train” are also attractive. They don’t look like the typical stylish hired killers that we are fed regularly in the cinema. We should thank the original book for this, because the Japanese way of looking at things is different from the Western one. And even if the movie lost a little of the poeticism and charm of the original, it successfully embodied the essence of the characters of the novel.
That is why there are no usual heroes and thieves in the plot, no one even goes into questionable morality. Every assassin just has to do his job and survive. At the same time, they really like to talk about everything in the world, and the topics are chosen quite unusual. For example, the murderer Limon (by the way, local murderers don’t have names – only nicknames) built all his morals on the TV show “Thomas the Train and His Friends”, he evaluates people based on the plots of the cartoon series. And everyone has at least one such feature that turns them into a very colorful and charming person.
Watching how such slightly crazy personalities interact with each other is a real pleasure. The dialogue and production in “High Speed Train” are top notch and only help the overall atmosphere of the film. However, closer to the end, the charm disappears a little, when the plot somewhat changes the vector of development.
From a technical point of view, almost everything is fine in “High Speed Train”. Only one final scene, made entirely with the use of computer graphics, cuts the eyes a little. In everything else, the film looks very nice and polished. The smallness of the locations does not bother him at all. Even the violent moments here are stylized and grotesque, just like in Tarantino.
And the soundtrack by Dominic Lewis stands out. The music here fits perfectly into each scene, and overall, the tracks turned out to be a good genre mix, in which there was a place for both Japanese versions of classic hits and aggressive synthwave. It’s nice to listen and separate from the movie, which is quite a big achievement.
“High-speed train” evokes exceptionally pleasant impressions. Even too pleasant, considering that none of the promotional materials for the film could convey how beautiful and worked out in every scene the picture is. Of course, there are no supernatural sensations here, but everything that is in the movie, it does at an amazing level. If style is one of the main elements of pop culture for you, then Express Train may become one of your all-time favorite movies. But in other cases, you will not regret watching one hundred percent.
Pros: non-standard and charming heroes, inventive action scenes, a good combination of humor and brutality, maximum style in each element Cons: the last third is somewhat dull compared to the previous scenes, the poetic language of the novel disappeared during the adaptation Conclusion:
“High-speed train” can become a new stage in David Leitch’s career. This is a movie in which style does not prevail over sense, but is successfully combined with all script elements to create a bright and quite intelligent action. The result is a bright action in which there are too many good things not to like something