"Bullet Train": instead of mystery, a loud, black comedy about hit-persons

Today I saw the bloated dark comedy film Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch, based on the action novel Maria Beetie by Kotaro Isaka, screenplay adaptation by Zak Olkewicz (and it wouldn’t have been easy), for Columbia Pictures.  

The protagonist is a mercenary codenamed “Ladybug”, this time openly a he-man, that is, Brad Pitt.  His contact had been Maria Beetle, who is played by Sandra Bullock at the end of the film.

The rest of the setup is indeed complicated by various Japanese and international underworld foes.  Ladybug is supposed to recover a satchel containing ransom money from the bullet train (Shinkhansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto (450 Km), but that is only for starters.

The style of the movie is farcical, populated by cartoonist pop images. This is in stark contrast to many other films set on trains, such as 'Strangers on a Train', 'Murder on the Orient Express', “Transsiberian”, and especially 'Snowpiercer'. Also throw in (about people locked on a train with a pathogen).

This 127 minute film by comparison is just a wild ride.


At the end comes the spectacle of the train wrecks, destroying a town. The plot in enriched by a snake on the train, whose bite contains a venom causing fatal bleeding. 

It was interesting that the Alamo Draft House (Loudoun, VA) preceded the show (in the largest, Imax auditorium) with an 1950s ad for Lionel model trains.

The end credits offer a compelling and rhythmic concert overture by Dominic Lewis. 

Some have compared Pitt’s role in this film to his role as Jerry Welbach in Gore Verbinski’s The Mexican for Dreamworks, 2001, a character who carries the eponymous gun across the border while a girl friend encourages him to give up criminal ways.   

Trailer for 'Cassandra Crossing'

Wunderland, Model railroad in Hamburg, Germany

(Posted: Friday, August 12, 2022 at 11 PM EDT)