Bullet Train (2022)
Not really renowned for his comedy stylings though he did alright in Sandra Bullock's The Last City (who also appears here), Brad Pitt stars in this fun-packed, all-action adventure aboard a speeding train. Personally, I was looking forward to this a great deal, as Brad Pitt is one of my all-time favourite stars and frankly, I'd watch anything with him in it, no matter how ridiculous and far-fetched it might appear. This is only his fourth appearance on the big screen in as many years, choosing to busy himself far more as producer for the likes of Paper Girls, Father of the Bride and Amazon's Outer Range only this year.
With no shortage of recognisable talent supporting, and some unrecognised, the trailer promised something of a John Woo styled riot in a tight confined space with throwaway one-liners, saved most notably for Pitt, who despite healthy competition, is the real gold here. Just how many of these he has in him is open to question, but the poor chap isn't get any younger (he's sixty in December 2023). Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), we're in safe, if somewhat anarchic hands. It has a feel of Guy Ritchie running through it (incidental brutality and quippy back-talk, innit guv'nor) and I would have guessed if I hadn't known otherwise that Ritchie was behind it. Most successful, funny and savage criminal capers have been his doing for some time, so it really wouldn't have been a stretch.
Highly stylised, with a budget to match, this is a rather simple story of a briefcase. It's got a shit-ton of money in it and at least five featured assassins want to get their hands on it, for various respective reasons. Skirting close to farce but with deadly weapons, this is comical insomuch as Ladybug's (Pitt) bafflement at what is going on around him. He's deadly, to be sure, but he has no idea what is going on and is often completely bewildered about why some people are trying to kill him. He was given the job over the phone, to pick up the briefcase and get off the train, but circumstances force him to remain on the train. Unfortunate happenstance is unfortunate.
It's engaging and bags of fun, but there really isn't much to this, save for a neat and tidy script which is good but never outstanding, acceptable performances from all, some more caricature than others and as you would expect, inventive and admirable direction. The story enjoys its exposition which is often needless, and plotwise, makes little or no difference.