Murder on the Smokin’ Aces Express.

Bullet Train hits theaters on Aug. 5, 2022.

David Leitch's Bullet Train takes itself as seriously as Crank, Smokin' Aces, or Shoot 'Em Up; that’s either a recommendation or warning. The John Wick and Atomic Blonde filmmaker translates his brand of electric-magnetic action with all the outlandishness of prime 2000s action flicks. Compared to Netflix's The Gray Man, it's a beacon of hope that American action can be both colorful and chaotic — Bullet Train is the movie Chris Evans' The Gray Man performance deserves, quite frankly. It's far from bulletproof, and the action-comedy elements don't always land, but there's still enough zip and humility that lets the good times roll.

Screenwriter Zak Olkewicz adapts Kôtarô Isaka's Japanese novel of the same name with blatant post-Pulp Fiction vibes. Brad Pitt stars as a hitman codenamed “Ladybug” who returns to action for what should be a simple smash-and-snatch objective. This promised ease leads to the film's humor as Ladybug goes on to face many unforeseen obstacles. Rival assassins punch their tickets, exotic reptiles escape cages, and Ladybug's convinced his bad luck will never cease as he's hunted for the package in his grasp. There's no such thing as a surefire win, which Ladybug learns the hard way as bodies mount and his aversion to firearms becomes a bigger and bigger detriment.

Bullet Train isn't just Pitt's comedic shooting range, though. The killer rogue's gallery under Leitch's direction sells their quirks from Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry as fruity-nicknamed Tangerine and Lemon — the latter a Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiast, as we’re reminded frequently — to musician Bad Bunny as a vengeful groom known as The Wolf (a moonlight howl accompanies his entrances). ​​Logan Lerman is unrecognizable as a Russian crime boss' troublemaker son, with a tatted and dangerous Michael Shannon playing White Death, said ruthless crime boss under Japanese-style masks and scraggly silver hairs. Everyone has their schtick — Lemon keeps equating characters to Thomas' friends, Tangerine's brass knuckles do his talking, White Death's only seen slaughtering his enemies in slow-motion flashbacks — and that's fine. Bullet Train isn't angling for anything more complicated than warring mercenaries fighting over scores.

Andrew Koji and Hiroyuki Sanada bring their martial arts mastery to railroad battlefields, but some might be disappointed to find they're mainly saved for the finale. That's not to say Leitch's action choreography fails prior; it's just more short-burst, easily editable brawls with actors like Henry and Pitt. Koji single-handedly demolishes adversaries in Cinemax series Warrior, yet is saddled with Joey King's schoolgirl-sweet Prince here for reasons I'll leave undefined. There are elements of Bullet Train that fall victim to America's less fluid and more clunky action, and yet it's never as egregious as something like — hate to keep harping — The Gray Man, or Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins.

Pitt's ability to bolster his action sequences with laughs makes all the difference. Ladybug keeps reciting his therapist's teachings to counter Tangerine's brash aggression or White Death's unresolved anger issues, and Pitt's demeanor doesn't let the gimmick drown. Henry achieves the same with Lemon's Thomas the Tank Engine wisdom, as he keeps scouring the bullet train to Kyoto for a “Diesel,” aka the main villain complicating everyone's tangled missions. There are plenty of cackle-aloud moments, like when sound designers use the perfect *thud* noise when Ladybug hits Tangerine in the noggin with a glass water bottle, even if other gags (like a disagreement Lemon and Tangerine have over their body count) don't land as well. What's promised on the tin — bullets and trains — is delivered unfiltered, albeit sometimes too indulgent in the film's “what goes around comes around” thematic resolutions.

The craziness of David Leitch's train never goes off the rails nor reaches top speeds.“

You're here for the action, and that's what's consistent. Pitt's common strategy involves taking licks until Ladybug emerges victorious thanks to someone else's poor luck, but even then, he's portraying nasty physical punishment. The better glimpses are Tangerine and Ladybug pausing their concession-car ruckus so a pleasant vendor (a misused Karen Fukuhara) can offer them drinks or everything that happens after Ladybug and [redacted] reach their final boss battle. Henry and Pitt trade slaps and smacks in stealth during a respectful “Quiet Car” dust-up. Zazie Beetz shines as another agile Ladybug adversary, while a cartoon feline mascot delights as Ladybug's punching bag. Leitch incorporates prop comedy as fighters integrate their environmental surroundings to ensure throwdowns stay fresh while violence remains at a gory premium — deaths include sliced heads, halved faces, and other bloody spurts that don't skimp on graphic brutalities. The influence of Japanese yakuza movies is not lost on Leitch, beyond on-screen text fonts and neon brightness like under Tokyo's night skyline.

Summer Movie Preview 2022

bullet train review
bullet train review
bullet train review
bullet train review
bullet train review
bullet train review

GAME'S NEWS RELATED

When is the release date of Sifu’s Summer Update?

Image via Sloclap Earlier this year, Slowcap’s Sifu took the world by storm, selling over one million copies in its first three weeks on the market. Close to launch, the team revealed that the game would get several free content updates over the course of the year. In the ...

View more: When is the release date of Sifu’s Summer Update?

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty gameplay trailer shows fast-paced, high-flying action

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a slow burning title that’s slowly heating up and bringing the hype to fans of third person action titles. One of next year’s most dynamic and aggressive titles has just gotten a new gameplay trailer, giving us a brief glimpse of what we have to ...

View more: Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty gameplay trailer shows fast-paced, high-flying action

New Minecraft Legends Trailer Gives A First Look At Fiery Foes

Gungrave GORE - Release Date Trailer - IGN

A series making its return after many years, Gungrave GORE promises bloody mayhem, a killer team, and a fall release date in this new Gamescom trailer. A mix of CG and gameplay gives it a good taste of the carnage to come. This new Gungrave game will launch on ...

View more: Gungrave GORE - Release Date Trailer - IGN

Heavy Metal's first YA story Starward concludes with an all-out celestial brawl

This is not your grandfather's Heavy Metal

View more: Heavy Metal's first YA story Starward concludes with an all-out celestial brawl

Nexa and flameZ help OG upset FaZe in BLAST Premier Fall Groups

Photo via PGL OG beat FaZe Clan 2-1 today in the knockout stage of the BLAST Premier Fall Groups, which is their best result since adding Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar, Maciej “F1KU” Miklas, and Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov halfway through 2022. The victory allows OG to move further in the CS:GO ...

View more: Nexa and flameZ help OG upset FaZe in BLAST Premier Fall Groups

Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed Review

In the first Destroy All Humans!, Crypto evidently didn’t manage to successfully carry out his objective to destroy all of the humans – as per the title’s remit – necessitating the existence of a 2006 sequel, which forms the basis for this remake, playfully titled Destroy All Humans! 2 – ...

View more: Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed Review

Hearthstone Patch 24.2: Full notes and updates

Battlegrounds. Battlegrounds everywhere Miscellaneous Mercs, Brawliseum, and more Image via Blizzard Entertainment The latest update to Blizzard’s popular card game is bringing along the new separate seasonal pass for Battlegrounds and Runestones, Hearthstone’s new virtual currency. Heroic Brawliseum is also making a return, plus in-game reporting is finally being ...

View more: Hearthstone Patch 24.2: Full notes and updates

Metal Gear and Silent Hill fans hope Konami's announcement could revive classic games

Age of Darkness: Final Stand - Edwin Hero Spotlight - IGN

Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed Video Review - IGN

The First 13 Minutes of Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed PS5 Gameplay - IGN

Destroy All Humans 2 - Reprobed

Team Liquid officially exits PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds eSports

‘The Ghost Lights’ VOD Review

Official PC system requirements for Hogwarts Legacy

Review Destroy all Humans! 2 – Reprobed

Aliens: Dark Descent is more than an XCOM clone - and feels surprisingly true to the movies

Destiny 2's New Craftable Taipan-4FR Linear Fusion Rifle Is A Must-Have, Here's How To Get It

Volunteer As A Subject In THE OUTLAST TRIALS Closed Beta

OTHER GAME NEWS