Brad Pitt comedy faces self-satisfaction on the finish

There are many things that cross my mind while watching “Bullet Train”: Bullet trains look great; Why don’t we have them in the US? Will I ever see Mount Fuji? Wondering if the Kit Kats they sell on that ship have any flavor?

These thoughts come about because my brain refuses to participate in this smug blood and bullet extravagance, something that feels like it’s been pulled out of what we might call stage. the “Things to Do in Denver When You Die” segment of American cinema, when Quentin Tarantino’s first two films encouraged too many young filmmakers to think they too could make a dramatic comedy with the excessive gunfights, obvious gore, pop culture references, drops of needles and a briefcase full of cash.

Programming for a film festival from 1995 to 1999, I suffered more “Reservoir Dogs” than the average moviegoer, which might explain why this new film has me got eliminated early and never won me back. “Bullet Train” leaves almost no cliché behind this sub-segment, from awkward, automatic camera moves to a scoring penalty shootout to a pointless hit single. punishment in the past. (“I am forever blowing bubbles” is honored here.)

Brad Pitt – who, like almost every actor involved, is better than this – plays a hired robber who goes by the codename Ladybug. (Oh yeah, they have cute nicknames here, too.) Ladybug was authorized by his handler (voice of Sandra Bullock) to hop on a bullet train in Tokyo, stealing a particular briefcase, and then jump off the next one to stop. But it can’t be that easy, or there won’t be movies.

The train happens to be home to a gallery of global rogues assassins, including: Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a pair of killers known as the killers. “The Twins”, the briefcase managers and the recently kidnapped son (Logan Lerman) of the notorious crime boss the White Death; Prince (Joey King), who is practically a schoolgirl who believes his murderous intentions; The Wolf (Benito A Martinez Ocasio, aka Bad Bunny), a Bolivian gangster seeking revenge; Kimura (Andrew Koji, “Warrior”), whose son’s life hangs in the balance; and some other players will be revealed later.

There was also a deadly poisonous snake on board, but it became one of many details that screenwriter Zak Olkewicz (“Fear Street: Part Two – 1978”), adapted from the book by Kotaro Isaka, seems For the duration of the film, he writes an explanation for what happened to the other passengers but never explains the disappearance of the crew on board.

A fast-paced, violent film about a group of intriguing crooks trying to make their way through and/or shoot each other promises to be interesting and thrilling, but at the hands of director David Leitch (“Deadpool 2”). ), it was an inconceivable affair. It’s clear that for the first 20 minutes, this movie operates in such a complacent artificial environment that nothing can happen. And instead of relying on next-level agility, “Bullet Train” builds to a place where as bodies start to pile up, we suddenly have to care about at least some of these characters. and their relationship with each other.

This talented cast focuses solely on the ideas of playing human roles, often with just one defining characteristic that they play over and over. (Ladybug likes to repeat self-help aphorisms from his therapist when he’s not punching people, while Lemon categorizes everyone he meets by characters from “Thomas” the Tank Engine”.)

Cinematographer Jonathan Sela (“The Lost City”) provides all the necessary looping – this is the kind of film in which a water bottle is flashed, complete with POV – and provides commercial-grade lighting. television commercials for all subjects in the carriage. On the other hand, what is shown through the windows captures the VFX animation (to varying degrees of seamlessness) rather than the actual Japanese scene, suggesting that the film was shot entirely on the plot of land. Sony’s in Culver City, or maybe as well.

All of “Bullet Train” should have been glossy, all-star nonsense, by the end of summer, but instead it delivered a bad, high-gloss, all-star, pointless late-summer name .

“Bullet Train” opens in US theaters on August 5.

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