Bullet Train review: Brad Pitt stars in Goes Nowhere Fast

“Bullet Train” isn’t a good movie, but the fun that radiates from Brad Pitt is magnetic enough to convince you that you’re having fun, too.

if “Express trainIt is one of the worst films Brad Pitt He starred—better than Troy, but with shorter hair than “Mexican”—this big, shiny thing from blockbuster movies is also a great testament to the actor’s hit rate over the past 30 years, and some of the best evidence we have is why he’s been synonymous with the same movies throughout. that time. Because that’s the thing about movie stars, and why the last of them still matters in the frenzy world of the franchise where characters tend to be more famous than the people they play on screen: they’re often minted in good movies, but they’re always proven in bad ones.

“Bullet Train” isn’t a good movie, but Pete has a really appreciable amount of fun, and the energy radiating from him fighting Bad Bunny over an explosive bag or styling his hair with the hairdryer function. The Japanese toilet is somewhat magnetic enough to convince us that we have fun too. Although we usually don’t. Although this racy tale about strangers on a Shinkansen – crossed out in late summer sounds like what would happen if someone wrote “Guy Ritchie’s anime” in DALL-E 2 – it tries so hard to imitate Pete’s natural allure that you can feel the movie begging To our daze with all the frantic interruptions and unexplained flashbacks. Although David Leitch’s adaptation of David Leitch’s “MariaBeetle” for David Leitch’s “MariaBeetle” is such a Hollywood action movie genre that it’s almost impossible to imagine how it started as a book.

It’s hard to even imagine how it started as a book about Japanese people, like “Bullet Train” – all along Hayate The railway lines running between Tokyo and Kyoto – have more white cast members from “The Lost City” than the main locally born characters. I suppose this is in keeping with the spirit of Zak Olkewicz’s stupid complex script, which turns the original Isaka story into a criminal story about a giant Russian gangster named “White Death”, whose hostile takeover of the Yakuza crime syndicate somehow explains why so many people in the world have found The deadliest killers themselves are on the same train (the identity of the actor who plays Mr. White Death is a surprise from the third act, but the revelations are worth the wait).

Pete – nicknamed “Lady Bug” by an off-screen therapist via Sandra Bullock’s voice – sounds like a strange man. Wearing a modest bucket hat, a ragged hairstyle a few bad months short of “Seven Years in Tibet,” and a zen attitude to which Dude owes more than a contract killer, Ladybug doesn’t seem to have much interest in murder. Not anymore. He may have been regular Agent 47, but these days he’s more inclined to kill people with kindness (“You put peace in the world and restore peace,” says the voice in his head). It’s just his usual misfortune that he’s called in to take someone else’s place on a speedy errand at the last minute, and it seems like every other passenger on the express train he boards is interested in buying the same bag. .

The most entertaining of these rivals are a British pair of brothers referred to as Lemon and Tangerine, and their nicknames for the unbearable mission grow every time this movie tries to pressure them into laughing easy (whatever “fruit” talk about gay panic, um Does it measure up to anything else?). The first, played by Brian Terry Henry, is an oversized kid obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine — a trait that surprisingly harks back to Isaka’s book, though it sometimes comes across as a bit of Hollywood comedy scriptwriting. The latter, embodied by the mustachioed Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is a heavy Jason Statham type who wears a three-piece suit like a muscle T-shirt.

Both actors commit to the saint-like work of elevating this basic Frick and Frac routine into something fun and almost real (Henry gives another frustratingly inspiring performance in his ongoing quest to squander generational talent on the likes of “Superintelligence” and “The Woman in the Window”), to the point that “Bullet Train” is sometimes able to muster some real character beyond the speed of a pinball machine and neon-lit noise. The rest of the group is less useful. Joey King is dressed thinly as an innocent, fake female killer, Andrew Koji can only frown and grunt as the Japanese killer tries to kill her, while Bad Bunny – just like Zazie Beetz – is flattened into the wallpaper once the movie bleeds him out. personality personality. Logan Lerman is low-key fun as a glorified human prop (Millennials never get a chance to go to “Bernie’s Weekend,” and it’s great to see one of them make the most of it), but his performance proves to be typical of a movie where sets Most heavy lifting work.

“Bullet Train” is unabashedly more vivid in style than substance – setting the dialogue so low that the film’s shimmering plot begins to feel awkward in comparison – but that only becomes a problem because Leitch struggles to keep things looking fresh. The action movie beauty that made Atomic Blonde in such an all-electric Cold War succumbed to the hacker-for-hire behind “Deadpool 2” and “Hobbs & Shaw,” and the brutality that made Leitch’s 87North Productions look like it might be Hollywood’s modern response to Hung-style action. Kong has given way to a mixed bag of comedic mayhem and a flashy mayhem of explosive CGI scenes.

A handful of comically designed brawls help elevate the “bullet train” above the norm (the above-mentioned bag fight between Pete and Bad Bunny includes a few tunes that have my fans grumbling loudly), but it never feels like Leitch is using the tight space of a Shinkansen. As much as a John Wick movie would do. Confined to an endless corridor of empty train cars all lit up to resemble the bars of a trendy hotel, Leitch is stuck in place at 200mph, even despite a non-linear timeline that switches between several subplots and constantly forces his characters to re- assess their fates.

Everything would have gone completely off track if not for the wit of Pete dancing across him, chewing on the scene as if it were a swirl of cotton candy. His performance is so quiet, even in the face of almost certain death, that he often borders on a schizophrenia, as if he were eliciting an entire character from Cliff Booth’s acid journey in the final minutes of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The way he solves a tricky situation involving a venomous snake in the bathroom of a bullet train arrives at the same kind of exhilarating nirvana – it’s a belly laugh in a movie struggling for smiles – and the decision to drop Criss Angel “Mindfreak” a good analogy is just the icing on the cake.

It’s as if Ladybug doesn’t really want to be there and is determined to make her out alive while causing as little damage to himself or others as possible, and Pitt’s gameplay of playing the character seems to model the same. Bullet Train may not go anywhere fast, but Pete always seems to be there already, safe in the knowledge that we’ll happily watch him grin through all the chaos crashing around him (including two bas-reliefs, one of which is nailing the star power actor). and others completely misunderstood). Pete’s stardom has never been more evident, and she’s shining enough here that everything else is lost in the glare.

Grade: c

Sony Pictures will release “Bullet Train” in theaters Friday, August 5.

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