- 15 cert, 126 mins. Dir: David Leitch. Starring: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Benito A Martínez Ocasio, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz, Sandra Bullock.
What modern blockbuster wouldn’t want to be likened to a bullet train? Exotic, sleek, unstoppably propulsive, engineered with precision and panache – in any country, east, west or in between, “the Shinkansen of action films” would be a serious compliment.
Sony Pictures’ Bullet Train, on the other hand, is the cinematic equivalent of the delayed 17.20 to Didcot Parkway, sitting in a siding somewhere outside Reading with broken air conditioning, a closed buffet car, canceled seat reservations, the “See it, say it, sorted” announcement on repeat, and no trolley service due to a shortage of crew.
Brad Pitt stars as a low-level assassin with the code name Ladybug, who is ordered by a mostly unseen Sandra Bullock – merely the first of a trio of smirking star cameos, here – to retrieve a briefcase full of currency and bullion from a bullet train winding its way overnight from Tokyo to Kyoto. (In the real world, this journey takes one minute less to complete than it does to watch Bullet Train, and feels about five hours shorter than it.)