Big, mindless, action movies used to be such a common occurrence that every other theater in the multiplex was filled with explosions, car chases and body counts.
Today, they have become a bit of an endangered species which, depending upon your perspective, is either a wonderful or unfortunate development.
I count myself among the latter viewpoint and while I freely admit that the vast majority of these movies were not very good, a well-made action flick can still be a whole lot of fun.
In that spirit I submit “Bullet Train” for your consideration. The latest film from stuntman-turned-director David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde,” “Deadpool 2”) gets by mostly on style, charm and a twisty, fast-paced screenplay.
“Bullet Train” stars Brad Pitt in classic movie-star mode as a slightly-neurotic criminal for hire. He’s been given a relatively simple assignment, steal a briefcase from a high-speed train traveling across Japan.
This simple assignment is complicated by the fact that the train is full of various hitmen and assassins, like a pair of chatty brothers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry) an innocent-looking young lady (Joey King) and a knife-wielding rage machine (Bad Bunny).
There are plenty of laughs as the circumstances get increasingly ridiculous in between several high-octane and incredibly-violent fight sequences.
Leitch channels Guy Ritchie and Quinten Tarantino with his visual flourishes and snazzy soundtrack choices, but he’s not afraid to let things get a little silly as well.
I fully concede that “Bullet Train” isn’t for everyone as the quippy, blood-soaked proceedings can feel a bit at odds with each other. But the movie’s tone remains consistent throughout and with some fun little cameos along the way, this movie knows that the audience is in on the joke and along for the ride.
“Bullet Train” is a bit of a throwback, but it knows what it is and it does it well. That’s all you can ask of any movie.
“Bullet Train” is rated R for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language and brief sexuality.