Bullet Train Parent Guide
Soaked in blood and profanity, this slick film nonetheless offers a fast ride to adult fans of action thrillers.
Parent Movie Review
Japanese bullet trains (or shinkansen) have carried billions of travelers across the island nation in the years since their introduction, but the passengers aboard this particular train are…unusual. First, there’s “Ladybug” (Brad Pitt), codename for an American contract killer who’s trying to turn his life around, at least incrementally. Instead of trying to kill someone, he’s on the train for one simple purpose: find and take a silver briefcase with a train sticker on the handle. Should be easy enough, right? However, the briefcase is being carried by another pair of assassins, Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), who are bringing the briefcase, its valuable contents, and the unruly son (Logan Lerman) of an international gangster known only as the White Death (Michael Shannon) home to Kyoto.
Ladybug isn’t the only one trying to get hold of the case: the Prince (Joey King), a British killer posing as an unassuming schoolgirl has her own plans for the case, which also involve the unfortunate Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Soji), who is, you guessed it, an assassin. The Prince has threatened Kimura’s young son, and unless he cooperates with her schemes, means to kill the boy. With every stop the train makes, it brings each of these paid killers one stop closer to the end of the line…
This may not be the smartest, funniest, or punchiest movie of the year, but it is a fun diversion. I almost always enjoy movies that throw a bunch of weirdos into a confined space with a shared goal and leave them to sort it out, and this film does exactly that. Is anything that happens in this movie probable? Not even vaguely. Does it matter? Again, no. This isn’t a movie that asks its audience to do much (or any) thinking, and it’s a barrel-of-monkeys-worth of fun if you just give up on thinking altogether.
Let me be clear here – this is only a good movie choice for adults with a high tolerance for both violence and profanity, which saturate the production. Although I enjoyed the ride, I can’t give this movie a higher grade than D+ because the negative content is so overwhelming. Please don’t watch this with kids and evaluate your tolerance for murderous mayhem before you buy a ticket.
If you decide to see the flick, you’ll note that the cast is superb, and they seem to enjoy shooting, stabbing, bottling, blowing up, and poisoning one another as the movie scampers along. They also spend most of the runtime cussing each other out, racking up more f-bombs in the script than minutes in the runtime – which, incidentally, would have been more fun if it were about 20 minutes shorter.
But, like I said, the less you think the more fun you’ll have. Bullet Train isn’t about to come up for any Academy Awards, but that’s completely beside the point. The point is to have some action-driven lighthearted fun, with a heavy helping of fake blood, zipping out of Tokyo’s neon-soaked skyline at preposterous speeds. And that’s exactly what the movie delivers.Directed by David Leitch. Starring Brad Pitt, Joey King, and Sandra Bullock. Running time: 152 minutes. Theatrical release August 5, 2022. Updated August 5, 2022
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Bullet Train rated R? Bullet Train is rated R by the MPAA for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language, and brief sexuality.
Violence: People are frequently shot, stabbed, slashed, poisoned, blown up, bludgeoned, and generally creatively maimed and killed. Poisoned individuals are seen bleeding from the eyes and vomiting huge volumes of blood. Bodies are seen being pushed into a woodchipper. A character commits suicide by jumping off a roof.
Sexual Content: Characters are briefly seen having sex through a window. Others are briefly seen in bed together without nudity.
Profanity: There are 131 sexual expletives, 27 scatological terms, and infrequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated August 5, 2022
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Another group of unlikely characters find themselves after similar goals in Bad Times at the El Royale.