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Canberra Today 3°/5° | Friday, August 19, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Movie review / ‘Bullet Train’

Brad Pitt in “Bullet Train”.

“Bullet Train” (MA) half a star

IN the words of respected British cinema magazine “Sight And Sound” (born in the same year as I was): “’Bullet Train’: mind the gap between its ears”.

The common factor driving movie people from the day they enrol for Cinema 101 is to make money. Movies go into cinemas on a take it or leave it basis, sending messages, seeking support for causes, visiting history, visiting new or strange places, introducing new sound or image technology, or whatever else you care to come up with. 

And along comes “Bullet Train”, a crash, bang, wallop, unprintable dialogue, same-old-same-old-and-more-of-the same-again actioner, with a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz, based on a novel by prolific Japanese fiction writer Kôtarô Isaka (16 of his novels filmed) and the third feature movie directed by stuntman David Leitch.

“Bullet Train” runs for 126 minutes. Along with three, young adult women, who left as soon as the end credits began to roll, I watched it in a cinema capable of holding several hundred patrons. I wasn’t unhappy about it metaphorically waking me as its loco and its cars derailed in a Japanese city. Only bad guys got hurt!

Railway enthusiasts, don’t be misled by the title. How other people will receive it I cannot foretell. 

Its publicity leads with Brad Pitt as criminal Ladybug, the character most emphasised by the screenplay, fresh out of therapy and determined not to use a gun for a job he’s been asked to do as a last-minute favour to his handler. In a funky way, the character nicknamed Lemon, played by Afro-American actor Brian Tyree Henry, is the film’s best fun-to-watch actor, mainly because of his silver-blond wig. The woman with the most screen time is Joey King, playing apprentice crook Prince. Oscar winner Sandra Bullock has a bit part.

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Dougal Macdonald

Dougal Macdonald

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