By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Even with Brad Pitt
aboard the explosive, new action drama "Bullet Train,"
this wild ride went off the rails pretty quick for me.
"Bullet Train," is based on the Japanese novel "Maria Beetle" by Kotaro Isaka. Directed by David Leitch ("Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw"), from a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz ("Fear Street: Part Two-1978"), the movie is loaded with tons of bloody and gratuitous violence and tries to be a bit too clever for its own good.
In "Bullet Train," Pitt plays a hired assassin named Ladybug who has been trying to find more meaning and purpose in his life. His handler Maria (Sandra Bullock, "The Lost City") desperately needs his help when one of her other hitmen is sick and can't do job.
Maria calls Ladybug to explain his assignment which includes picking up some items--notably a gun and other assassin paraphernalia--from a locker.
His job is to find and deliver a silver briefcase with a sticker on the handle to Kyoto via the “Bullet Train.”
What's in that briefcase? Something especially important that everyone wants.
The bloated story also centers around a devil-masked White Death character (Michael Shannon, TV's "George & Tammy"), who takes down a Yakuza boss named Minegishi (Nobuaki Shimamoto, "Beckman"). White Death has hired Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, "The King's Man") and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry, TV's "Atlanta") to protect his drug-addict son (Logan Lerman, TV's "Hunters") and deliver that coveted briefcase. Well, of all the luggage on the train, Ladybug has no problem finding it much to the embarrassment of Lemon.
There are a number of people on this train that seem to be connected in some way to this briefcase. There is a guy named Kimura (Andrew Koji, "Snake Eyes"), who is out to kill the person who pushed his young son off the roof of a building. The poor kid is in a coma in the hospital. If Kimura can find the person he would be back in the good graces of his father, The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada, "John Wick: Chapter 4").
Don't let the prim and proper dressed Prince (Joey King, "The Princess"), fool you either. She has a few tricks up her sleeve too.
Wolf (Bad Bunny, TV's "Narcos: Mexico") wants revenge on those responsible for poisoning everyone at his wedding party.
There are a couple of cameo appearances that will bring a chuckle or two, and another character (Zazie Beetz, TV's "Atlanta") who has a bit of history with Ladybug. Everyone has an agenda, and when they all cross, that's when the mayhem and silliness ramp up and "Bullet Train" begins to overstay its welcome.
By the time the big reveal comes around it's rather anticlimactic. I was just glad this "Bullet Train" had finally stopped.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "BULLET TRAIN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.