when you sit down to watch “High-speed train”, the new film from director David Leitch, comparisons with “Kill Bill” (or Tarantino in general) are inevitable: its crossover of genres, curious black humor and blatant violence are very reminiscent of the director’s most famous tracks from “Pulp Fiction”. Free from the limitations and expectations of sequels imposed by his previous work (“Deadpool 2”) and with a much more relaxed tone than “Atomic”, Leitch offers us probably his best work yet as a solo director.
Brad Pitt leads an all-star cast with a fun premise: it’s an agent named “Catarina,” who’s convinced he’s down on his luck. His job seems simple, get on the Tokyo bullet train and pull out a briefcase. However, as he predicted, it will not be an easy task: the train is full of assassins and thugs with different motivations that will make their mission more difficult. Will they all make it out alive when they reach the last station?
Like any good mystery full of suspects, plus a fun Brad Pitt, “Bullet Train” has a cast that brings out the best in their characters, no matter how small: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”) and Brian Tyree Henry (“Eternals”) are Mandarina and Limón, two hitmen whose job it is to take care of the son of a powerful mobster and the money from the briefcase stolen by Catarina; Andrew Koji (“Warrior”) as Kimura, a man on the hunt for the person who attempted to murder his young son; Bad Bunny plays the ruthless Lobo, responsible for the film’s most melodramatic, over-the-top, and funniest segment; and Joey King (“The Princess”) finally finds a project that matches her talents as Prince, a very smart and cunning teenager, but not as smart as she thinks.
This description of King’s character applies perfectly to the film: as already said, in the first place it is very reminiscent of Tarantino’s cinema, but once finished it is much more like the interesting but almost forgotten “Bad Times at the El Royal”. a cross between mystery and competent comedy, entertaining and full of stars, but not as memorable as the films to which it pays homage. Some twists are predictable and several repetitive sequences (especially the boring ones flashbacks to explain these things, as if the story no confiara en la astucia de su audiencia), pero la película lo compensate con mucho estilo, secuencias de acción, una trama que avanza a 300 kilómetros por hora y un extravagant finale that drew the casa por The window.
As in his other works, there are two things that Leitch is an expert in: his fight sequences (where his background as an action extras coordinator comes through) and in the visual section. Here he is supported by the ingenious production design of David Scheunemann, who has already worked with him on “Deadpool 2”, “Atomica” and was artistic director on “Inglourious Basterds”, and the photography of Jonathan Sela, responsible for many action works. , including “John Wick” and the recent “The Lost City”. Together, they make it the train with the most personality since “Snowpiercer”, playing with the decoration and lighting of the different cars to keep its dynamic and crowded plot afloat. The constant change of scenery and lighting helps keep the viewer attentive and avoid visual boredom.
Even though “Bullet Train” doesn’t live up to other films of its type like “Knives Out” or “Kingsman” and its packed plot might be too much for some (it’s sometimes hard to know where it va) , we must salute its audacity to take its subject to the highest level of entertainment: in addition to its singular group of characters, this film plays for all or nothing, especially in a third act where blood, action and comedy are taken to the extreme. limit. It is an example of a work that should only be seen in the cinema to take full advantage of its excess, and those who appreciate this level of extravagance will not be disappointed.
“Bullet Train” opens in theaters August 4. Cover image courtesy of sony pictures.