So even though this movie has an awful poster, I really enjoyed it. It's been a hot minute since I've seen a new Brad Pitt movie, and it always feels like the LONGEST minute since I've seen something with a source material I'm not familiar with. This movie is a fun ride, mostly carried by the sheer charisma of the actors and the entertaining and bountiful action sequences. The plot leaves a lot to be desired, as you never really care about all the twists and turns it takes you on. Whenever the plot gets off the rails (HAHAHAHA) it's rarely in a way that adds to the movie. Here's the breakdown
I don't care and I never will. Essentially Brad Pitt plays a snatch and grab professional who gets caught up in this crazy complex revenge plot. The movie is full of flashbacks that give you more exposition on the characters. And while these flashbacks do give good details on who the characters are, I still very much don't care. No one came here for the complicated plot, we came here for Brad Pitt. THEN we came here for the fun. The plot's pace is fast though, which is good because it is a bullet train, but also bad because you'll be in the middle of an action sequence and the plot will hastily flash back mid fight to an expositional flashback, which I guess is the theme the movie is going for. Fate and blah blah blah. Honestly this is No Country for Old Men with a less important briefcase and a discount Javier Bardem in the form of Michael Shannon. But as I said, as messy and disjointed as the plot can be, it mostly doesn't get in the way of the fun. Mostly.
The setting is perfect; the majority of the film takes place on a Japanese Bullet Train (duh), and comes with all the flavor that that would entail. The writing is good, with some good banter humor throughout the film. Much like a real train, the fun is slow to build up, but once the movie is in full swing it's humorous the rest of the way. The soundtrack is also great, with a few Japanese covers of famous songs. It might not be a great movie, but it's a fun movie, and that's mostly due to the actors, who clearly had a blast making this film.
While Brad Pitt shines (as he always does) in this movie, I do think it's the performances from Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry that really make the movie a watchable fun experience. They both put everything they had into their roles as deadly assassins. The chemistry between them is great, and they steal the movie in my opinion. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is incredible in all things, I definitely need to see more of his movies. Hit me up with those suggestions in the comments. They nail each scene they are in, and make the movie very much worth a watch. The rest of the ensemble is fine, they don't really add anything to the movie, but that's more of the plots fault than theirs, they really don't have anything to do.
Joey King is fun for the first couple of scenes, then you honestly forget she's even on the train. Michael Shannon is fun, but not menacing at all as a villain. Honestly the few surprise cameos are more impactful than the rest of the cast.
The action is...complicated. It's all well choreographed, but it's all on a train, so it severely limited what they could do. Now with that being said, they were VERY creative in how to include hand to hand combat on a train, but sometimes it just doesn't hit home. While the action is fine in the first two acts, the action in the finale is bonkers, with extreme special effects and over the top violence. I'll accept any movie that gives me more hand to hand combat scenes than Iron Fist did, and this did clear that low bar. The action is fun, and constant, so you will definitely be entertained.
This movie might have a plot that goes off the rails in all the wrong ways, but the charming cast and engaging action scenes more than make up for it, delivering a summer blockbuster that will provide a brief distraction from all the horrors of the world currently, so definitely go see it! In theaters!