Bullet Train [7/10]

The super-high-octane, ridiculous thriller is now effectively a sub-genre in its own right. Mostly entries in this sub-genre generate flash and blood but offer little more, not even visceral cinematic thrills. Viewed in that light, “Bullet Train,” a picaresque tale of five assassins battling on a Shinkansen in Japan, delivers plenty of chuckle-rousing quips and twists, but somehow conveys little drama other than occasional moodiness. Without a doubt the highlights are the screenplay’s cleverness (courtesy of Zac Olkewicz) and the dialogue chops of Brad Pitt and Brian Tyree Henry (in that regard Aaron Taylor-Johnson is excellent also). The action scenes are executed with flair, the cinematography (especially the special drone-style snippets of the rushing train) is fine, and the direction by David Leitch. All in all, Bullet Train made, for this jaded viewer, an entertaining two hours of violent nonsense. And yet, dear reader, let me repeat: I never leapt from my seat. This type of thriller, it seems to me, never thrills.

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