Bullet Train is a 2022 American action comedy film directed by David Leitch and features an ensemble cast, with Brad Pitt among the leads. Primarily, Brad Pitt plays a character called Ladybug, a former hitman who must battle fellow assassins while travelling on a bullet train.

The movie begins with Yuichi Kimura, “The Father”, boarding a bullet train in Tokyo in search of the attacker of his son Wataru. Meanwhile, guided by his handler Maria Beetle, operative “Ladybug” is assigned to retrieve a briefcase full of cash from the same train, replacing a sick colleague, Carver. Ladybug is reluctant, as his recent string of bad luck during his jobs resulted in accidental deaths. Also on the train are two English assassin brothers codenamed “Lemon” (Brian Tyree Henry) and “Tangerine” (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who just rescued a man (“The Son”) from kidnappers and are taking him and the briefcase to his father, a Russian-born Yakuza boss called “The White Death” (Michael Shannon).

As the trip begins, The Son is killed by poisoning. Ladybug meanwhile discreetly steals the briefcase, but on his way off the train, he is attacked by another assassin, codenamed “The Wolf”, who recognizes Ladybug from his wedding, where his wife was killed. The Wolf mistakenly believes Ladybug to be one of her killers. Ladybug confusedly fights The Wolf, who accidentally kills himself with a deflected knife throw. Yuichi finds the person who attacked Wataru, a young woman codenamed “The Prince”, but she overpowers him. She explains that she pushed Wataru off a roof to lure Yuichi to the train as part of a plan to have him kill the White Death. To ensure his cooperation, she has someone holding Wataru hostage in the hospital.

Ladybug’s misfortune continues. He recognizes Lemon from a job in Johannesburg gone wrong (where Lemon shot Ladybug), offers to return the case in exchange for being allowed to leave. Lemon suspects that Ladybug killed The Son, leading to a fight. Lemon is knocked unconscious during the fight, and privately discusses Ladybug’s innocence to Tangerine, before splitting off to find him and frame him for the Son’s murder. The Prince finds the briefcase, booby-traps it with explosives, and rigs Yuichi’s gun to explode if fired. Ladybug encounters Tangerine, and after avoiding the White Death’s men, kicks Tangerine off the train as the train departs, but he climbs back aboard from outside. Suspicious of the two, Lemon shoots Yuichi but collapses after drinking from a water bottle Ladybug had previously spiked with sleeping powder.

The Prince (played by Joey “King”) shoots Lemon and conceals him and Yuichi in a bathroom. Ladybug encounters yet another assassin, “The Hornet”, who poisoned the Son and Wolf’s wedding party with the venom of a boomslang snake. After a struggle, both are exposed to the venom, but only Ladybug receives an anti-venom that saves him. Tangerine runs into the Prince and notices one of Lemon’s train stickers on her, realizing that she shot Lemon. Ladybug interrupts them, and Tangerine is killed before he can shoot the Prince. At the next stop, Yuichi’s father, “The Elder”, boards the train. He recognizes the Prince and informs her that Wataru is safe, as the henchman has been killed by his guard. After she flees, the Elder tells Ladybug he will remain to confront the White Death, who killed his wife while taking over the Yakuza.

Finding Yuichi and Lemon still alive, the four work together to make preparations to face the White Death. At Kyoto, Ladybug gives the White Death the briefcase. The Prince, revealed to be the White Death’s daughter, fails to goad him into shooting her with the rigged gun. The White Death explains that everyone on the train was linked to the death of his wife. He hired them hoping they would kill each other, not knowing Carver was replaced by Ladybug. The White Death’s henchmen open the briefcase, which explodes, knocking Ladybug and the White Death back onto the train. The White Death’s remaining henchmen board and battle the assassins, while the Elder duels the White Death.

The train crashes into downtown Kyoto. Emerging from the wreck, impaled with the Elder’s katana, the White Death tries to kill Ladybug, but the rigged gun explodes in his face. The Prince threatens Ladybug, Yuichi, and the Elder with a machine gun but is run over by a fruit truck driven by Lemon, who fell off the train earlier. Maria arrives to retrieve Ladybug, while Japanese authorities begin to clean up the damage caused by the train crash.

The movie is full of violence, insane twists and a general lack of logic only found in the films starting with Fast & something. The cast is colorful in terms of the acting ability and their ability to entertain the audience. The story runs out of steam by the end but the action sequences and humor are enough to allow audiences to stay invested until the end. Almost all the actors bring their “A” game except Joey King and Andrew Koji, whose performances were forgettable. Sandra Bullock had a small role but seems like talent wasted in this movie.

The non-Asian casting especially Brad Pitt as Ladybug and Joey King as The Prince, unlike the Japanese characters in the original novel attracted criticism. The criticism makes sense had this movie been set in the U.S.A or Europe, the white characters might have made more sense. However, the original setting of Japan has been retained but the characters changed. So, regarding the criticism, I do believe Asian characters can lead a good story, like Shang-Chi and Crazy Rich Asians but in a movie like Bullet Train, which lacked a strong plot and relied more on the humor and the action sequences, Brad Pitt was a good choice and was quite entertaining in the role. Joey King’s performance was forgettable and could have been played by almost any one. The movie does have a lot of diversity with Black, Latin, White and Asian characters so it doesn’t fit into the usual “woke” criticism of movies.


Bullet Train woke critics might complain about the “white-washing” but if you don’t get too upset about movie details and prefer to enjoy a great action comedy with some popcorn, go check this one out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: