BULLET TRAIN – Review by Susan Granger

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Bullet Train may not be the worst picture of 2022 – but it’s gonna come close!

The chaotic, confusing, supposedly comedic action begins with Kimura (Andrew Koji), a distraught father, standing over the Tokyo hospital bed in which his young son lies – after being pushed from the roof of a building. The boy’s disapproving grandfather, known as The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), orders Kimura to find the culprit, take revenge and restore the family’s honor.

Meanwhile, there’s this low-level crook, known as Ladybug (Brad Pitt), who’s obviously deep into psychobabble. He’s ordered by his handler (voiced by Sandra Bullock) to retrieve a silver briefcase from the Japanese bullet train that speeds from Tokyo-to-Kyoto.

Problem is: two incomprehensibly mumbling British assassins – ‘brothers’ Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) – are after the same briefcase. Plus there’s the stealthy Hornet (Zazie Beetz), who poisoned the bride and family of The Wolf (Benito A. Martinez Ocasio – a.k.a. rapper Bad Bunny) at their wedding banquet in Mexico.

Complicating matters further is The Prince (Joey King), a sneaky second-generation killer who looks like an innocent schoolgirl. At the end of the line awaits White Death (Michael Shannon), a Russian underworld kingpin with a handful of hitmen.

Adding to the carnage confusion, there’s an uncredited cameo from Channing Tatum as a crook who was supposed to take Ladybug’s assignment – along with a slithering poisonous snake that escaped from the zoo.

Incoherently adapted by Zak Olkewicz from Kotaro Isaka’s 2010 novel Maria Beetle, it’s feverishly directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) with bumpy nods to the tenants of Thomas the Train Engine.

Since there’s zero character development, the imbecilic, almost non-stop violence is dutifully chronicled by cinematographer Jonathan Sela.

At one point, Ladybug says, “I just want to get off this train and go to a Zen garden.” Me, too!

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Bullet Train is a tediously boring 2 – an awful waste of 2 hours, 6 minutes, even if the theater was deliciously air-conditioned – and empty!

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.