Bullet Train Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

 

The unlucky killer named Ladybug (Brad Pitt) underwent a course of psychological rehabilitation, after which he returned to the next task, which was given to him by the curator Maria (Sandra Bullock). Ladybug must board the high-speed Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kyoto, where in the luggage compartment he must find a suitcase with a substantial amount of money, steal it, get off at the first station and deliver the suitcase to Maria.

It seems that this all sounds quite simple, but Ladybug suspects that reality will turn out to be much more complicated and dangerous, and his intuition does not fail him: the train turns out to be full of various criminal personalities, and at first it will not be very clear what they are doing on this train and what tasks are solved.

Two British mercenaries Mandarin (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), who call themselves brothers, are carrying the same suitcase, as well as the son of the boss (Logan Lerman), whom they must deliver in Kyoto safe and sound.

Also on the train is a seemingly harmless twenty-year-old girl who calls herself Prince (Joey King), who is actually incredibly dangerous. The Prince is taking with him a certain Kimura (Andrew Koji), who obeys her orders: otherwise the Prince threatens to kill Kimura’s son.

Well, all of them should expect a visit from a Mexican killer named Wolf (Bad Bunny) and a poisoner named Hornet (Zazie Blitz).

In general, it will be a fun trip, which very few are destined to survive.

***

The scenario of this picture is based on the best-selling book Killer Train by Kotaro Isaki: more than a million copies of this book have been sold in Japan. The original name of the painting “Bullet Train” is a bullet train or high-speed train. Why Russian distributors gave the film the name Faster than a Bullet – I don’t know, but I haven’t tried to understand at least some logic in their actions for a long time.

Among the producers of the picture is Antoine Fuqua, and Faster than a Bullet was directed by director David Leitch, who gave the world the first John Wick (together with Chad Stahelski), the cool Explosive Blonde, the chic Deadpool 2 and the excellent action movie Hobbs and Shaw.

After “Deadpool 2” and “Hobbs and Shaw” I expected that a charcoal black-humor action movie awaits me here – and Litch did not disappoint me: dashing, dynamic, bloody and specifically reckless. Lots of really funny jokes and – no, it didn’t annoy me at all when a couple of jokes were repeated twice: it was really funny the second time.

Brad Pitt plays Ladybug perfectly: ironically, with good humor, but at the same time – Brad looks great in action scenes, and, according to the stunt coordinator in this film, Greg Rementer, the actor himself performed 95% of the stunts. Here, by the way, it would be appropriate to recall a funny fact: director David Leitch himself began as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, and it was he who was Brad Pitt’s understudy in the films Fight Club, Ocean’s Eleven, Troy and Mr. and Mrs. Smith “. (Actually, Leitch’s career as a director began with John Wick.)

And after this film, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum (here they both have tiny roles) invited Brad to play an episodic role in The Lost City, and it became clear to me only after watching Faster than a Bullet that this Jack Coach was in The Lost City repeats some of the words of Pitt’s character from this film.

Tangerine (Tangerine) and Lemon (Lemon) performed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry are excellent: they are both fighting and tough, they bicker with each other in a funny way, they discuss the British children’s series in a funny way, but they also look very worthy in the fighting episodes. However, I liked Aaron Taylor-Johnson a little more: his character is incredibly colorful. By the way, I noticed this actor in “Argument”, where he played the fighting Yves. The role was quite small, but the actor was remembered immediately.

The girl with the nickname Prince was perfectly portrayed by Joey King: a cool combination of the appearance of a kind of “chop girl”, which at the same time is absolutely fearless and acts very tough.

Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton artist, is one of the 100 most influential musicians in the world, the most streamed non-English artist on Spotify in 2020 and 2021, as the scary Mexican with the nickname Wolf. By the way, in the credits he is listed under his real name – Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio. His role here was, frankly, rather small, but he looked very colorful.

When staging, Litch was clearly inspired by some of the films of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie: a lot of blood, a lot of flashbacks, the storylines of most of the characters are somehow intertwined. But this does not look like an imitation, just such a presentation format.

Critics of the picture are almost unanimously scolded – on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics rating is only 54%. What are they scolded for? For everything together and at once. It’s not funny, they say, the landscapes outside the window are not the same, there are too many white actors and the staging of the book does not match. At the same time, the viewer rating there on Rotten Tomatoes is high, 78%, my whole family (we watched in English with Spanish subtitles) liked it extremely, so why are there all these critics? Let them go through the forest to Kyoto on the bullet train, that’s what I’ll tell you.

PS The original book, by the way, is praised: I’ll probably try to read it.

 

Bullet Train

Director: David Leitch Cast: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock, Bad Bunny, Logan Lerman, Masi Oka, Karen Fukuhara

Budget: $90 million

Black humor thriller, USA, 2022, 152 min.

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