Benefiting from a highway with a summer period neglected by the big Hollywood machines, Bullet Train intends to offer us our dose of uninhibited backfire. And then there’s Brad Pitt.
In the midst of a very bleak summer of blockbusters made in Uncle Sam where only Top Gun: Maverick and Thor: Love & Thunder compete for the end of fat in dark rooms, Sony saw the opportunity to carve out a lion’s share and deploys, in the face of the competition in decline, its action film at 320 km / h: Bullet Train.
A title inspired by the expression used by the Anglo-Saxons to designate the Shinkansen, the famous Japanese high-end train. So far, nothing exciting you might say, except that director David Leitch has placed Brad Pitt and a slew of assassins on board. And if, we don’t know by what miracle, you managed to dodge the promotional hype between displays in town, TV ads, on social networks, at the cinema, etc. (we would be curious to know the marketing budget) and you still don’t know what it’s about, we summarize the delirium for you.
Ladybug is a mercenary convinced to be particularly unlucky. He is given a seemingly simple mission: to steal a briefcase on board the Shinkansen. Which is a good thing since he now intends to do his job as peacefully as possible, without weapons or violence. Except that several assassins with divergent interests are also on the train and they are all interested in the briefcase. For Ladybug, the hardest part begins: getting down.
After the success of John Wick, former stunt-turned-director duo Chad Stahelski and David Leitch go their separate ways. The first continues to direct a Keanu Reeves gunning down the whole world (the fourth opus comes out in March 2023) while the second multiplies the projects with for only line of conduct an uninhibited action cinema where we must have the easy punchline and a farts in the helmet.
Whether David Leitch is a voodoo sorcerer or whether our passion for lead and gossip in the movies is constantly blinding us is hard to say, but each of his films always promises delicious promise on paper (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw) before realizing that the final result only reaches, in pain, a third of its potential (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw). Disillusionment, frustration and above all the memory of goldfish since we set off again for a ride, and with envy on top of that.
Must shake, otherwise the pulp, it stays down!
Bullet Train is a pure Hollywood product of the last fifteen years with all the panoply that goes with it. A camera that plays on the zoom for comic effect, wordy digressions that manage to camouflage the action sequences, everything was seen during the promotion of the film, a pop soundtrack for the sense of shift and slow motion for styling.
The feature film thus continues to prove that David Leitch is more of a salesman than a director, managing to sell us a counterfeit that mixes all the work of the friends by cheerfully drawing inspiration from Tarantino, Gunn, Snyder, Rodriguez and all. those who laid the foundations of modern cinematic pop-culture. A kind of melting pot where we have kept the ideas, but not the talent since the same fight level, the clipesque staging of Leitch lets us think that Stahelski was the real conductor of the former duo (which the opuses following Baba Yaga had already convinced us in truth).
Before you call us piss-cold or agents in the pay of the faded jeans lobby, Bullet Train is not a failed film. And that’s not due to the presence of Joey King, whose annoying appearance seems to shout “Look at me, I’m in a movie with Brad Pitt!” », but in that of its partners. First, the duo Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry increases surprisingly in power over the minutes and we end up getting attached to them. In a shower of stars, they manage to shine far above their ghostly comrades.
And then there’s Ladybug, better known as Brad Pitt. Would Bullet Train have the same flavor without its headliner? The answer is obvious. Brad plays the perfect loser who has fun scratching his status as a sex symbol. Bob on the head, big glasses, pacifist, clumsy, a bit cowardly and completely off the mark, Ladybug is the anti-hero par excellence, the one we don’t notice and who gets killed minute one in the script classic. A role of an ordinary type against the grain which could have become a thorn in the side by entrusting it to a star whose charisma is no longer to be proven, but who, on the contrary, only demonstrates, once again, what tremendous actor Brad Pitt is.
With him at the head of the gondola, the film manages to have its small effect, in particular because the company does not seem to be run by cynicism, but by a kid in love with action cinema from the 80s and 90s who, even if he does not have the talent, has the desire to entertain us with the greatest casualness. If you agree to put away everything you’ve already seen elsewhere (the famous goldfish memory) and take a few hallucinogenic substances, Bullet Train is appreciated as honest and unpretentious summer entertainment from which you will never come out. no smarter, but who will at least not have taken us for idiots.