COMEDIC BEATS, WILD TWISTS AND A GREAT ESCAPE

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I got to know Brad Pitt via Fight Club, Troy, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, not necessarily in that order, but it is safe to say my first impression of the big-time Hollywood actor is that he was an action star. However, as of late, despite his lean physique pretty face, and blonde hair, he had resorted to play more meaningful and in-depth characters, rightfully so, as he did full justice and some more to all the characters he played, evident by the multiple Oscars and other awards he bagged along the way. However, the teenager in me who first witnessed Pitt on the big screen yearned to see him again in an action role and when I first saw the trailer of his new movie Bullet Train, I was over the moon. Finally I was going to see Pitt in full-on action, after a long time. Finally, when I got the chance to see the movie on big screen, I was surprised; first at how gracefully Pitt has aged since his Fight Club days, how it has affected his choreography in fight sequences and also at how well he managed to play the character of Ladybug – someone who is plagued with a questionable kind of a luck but nonetheless an assassin whose trade requires a certain amount of physical skills, especially considering he is not big on guns.

Spoiler alert, Pitt isn’t the only assassin on the bullet train which is mentioned in the movie title, so a fair amount of action is shared among many other characters of the movie but the comparatively less amount of action Pitt had to perform in the movie he performs to the fullest. Every kick, punch, and move he makes give us a glimpse into his glory days and judging by the cheer of the audience, it is safe to say that everyone else enjoyed it too.

As the story goes, Ladybug is an assassin with questionable luck, yearning for a fresh start. When a relatively easy job of a quick snatch and dash comes up in Japan, he is quick to take it, although it does sound too easy. The package in question is in a bullet train and once he is in the train he realises he is not the only assassin after the package and there is a much bigger ploy at play.  

When I say a bigger ploy, I mean a really big ploy that runs decades back and involves a lot of people. This means each and every one on that train connected to the story has their own back story which has to be revealed to the viewer at some point because without it, the overall story wouldn’t make much sense. However, revealing these backstories mean that the runtime of the movie gets considerably longer. The director David Leitch has cunningly and rather comically found a loophole to deliver these backstories in flashbacks that doesn’t eat up much time, making the overall runtime, bearable, crosing just over two hours, ideal for an action/comedy.

Despite the big names in direction and lead, the movie has a rather modes budget and it shows up on the CGI side of the movie. Mind you it is still enjoyable but not to the extent of say, Avengers or Deadpool. However, what little the movie lacks in the CGI department it makes up in the dialogues department because this movie is hilariously, laugh-out-loud-ly funny. The funniest dialogues are between the two assassins named Lemon and Tangerine (Bryan Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) The English twin-assassins with their thickest accents, vastly contrasting personalities, and at times, mildly confusing Thomas The Tank Engine references, deliver hands down the funniest dialogues in the movie. The speed, the ease with which they converse, and the length of their conversations make you feel like as if you are watching a Qentin Tarantino movie.

Speaking of Tarantino, this movie is in another way fits in the Oscar winning director’s movie style and that is by being bloody. Although it is not blood-gushing-out-of-open-wounds kind scenes or car windshields painted with blood type sequences, there is plenty of blood and gore. Given that these are shown in split-second sequences. Be sure to watch the movie with your eyes peeled because blink and you are sure to miss some blood.

As for Pitt’s acting in the movie, it is safe to say Pitt has single-handedly carried the movie, despite there being many other characters with relatively longer screen time. Seeing Pitt in a care-free, comedic role like this would ideally have felt a bit odd but he was a natural. From the start of the movie to the very end, he owned the character and played it to the fullest.

If you really think about it, Bullet Train is a typical Ryan Reynolds movie with plenty of action, blood, and comedy in it. While Reynolds does play a minor role in the movie I’m glad Pitt was cast to play the lead because personally, I don’t think anyone else would have been able to play it any better. Not only do I recommend watching this movie, I suggest doing it twice. I myself will definitely be watching this again, just to catch all the fun I may have missed in the dialogues the first time around.    

By Sanuj Hathurusinghe