What we know about the movie so far. I’m excited about the upcoming Bullet Train flick. It looks like a fun movie, especially if it lives up to the outstanding and intelligent novel. Based on what we saw in the movie trailer, we are waiting for a masterpiece of carefully designed action.
In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt embodies a highly accomplished killer who decides to give up his job and his past behind, but is chosen by his handler, Maria Beetle, to collect a suitcase on an express train from Tokyo to Morioka, where his final assignment places him on the world’s fastest train in Japan, with several of the most skilled assassins on board; each of them has a mission to carry out.
The movie is an adaptation of a Japanese novel by Japanese mystery writer Kotaro Isaka and directed by David Leitch, who directed Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, and Hobbs and Shaw.
The movie stars Brad Pitt as Ladybug, Sandra Bullock as Maria Beetle, Joey King as Prince, Andrew Koji as Kimura, Aaron Tyler Johnson as Tangerine, Brian Tyree Henry as Lemon, Zazie Beetz as Hornet, and others.
The novel’s original Japanese title is Maria Beetle. It is a dark comedic thriller novel, written in 2010 by author Kōtarō Isaka, and translated to English by Sam Malissa in 2021 as Bullet Train, with 415 pages.
And here is our review of the novel. A bullet train leaves Tokyo for Morioka, making many stops along the route. The train leaves quietly, but five lethal assassins are on board, each with a distinct goal.
When a bag full of money disappears, all five killers expose their hands, starting a frantic confrontation on the moving train. As things heat up, the killers wonder why they’re all on the same train and who’s pulling their strings.
As the train gets closer to its destination, lies, tricks, and secrets come out, and not everyone will make it. Bullet Train boasts a complex tale with many twists and turns and unique moments.
All five major characters quickly find themselves in unexpected and perilous circumstances that they must escape from. The primary characters are all enjoyable, and the author has given them unique features and personalities.
Each character deals with a deceased customer, stolen money, blackmail, or a dead corpse. Their encounters feature explosive action scenes, smart manipulations, and hilarious clashes ranging from philosophical conversations to children’s show discussions.
At the same time, the characters must deal with other murders on the train, ignorant spectators, secrets from the past, and a hazardous conspiracy. All of this builds to an epic and smart ending where numerous characters die and ingenious twists occur.
I didn’t see some of the twists coming, so I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next and which characters would survive.
Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka is a must-read epic. I loved the story’s unusual twists and surprises, and the main five characters were great.
The novel’s characters. Yuichi Kimura, an angry former hitman, and Satoshi Oji, a psychopathic master manipulator, are the book’s first two key characters. Recovering alcoholic Kimura is pursuing Satoshi for pushing his son off a roof and into the hospital.
His attempts at retribution are stopped by Satoshi, whose moniker “the Prince” says it all. Using threats against his unconscious son, the Prince manipulates Kimura into helping him investigate weird happenings on the train.
The two swiftly find themselves in the heart of perilous circumstances, with Kimura trying to save his kid while the Prince works the situation to his advantage. Both killers are well-written and add much to the story.
You’re immersed in Kimura’s effort to save his son and conquer his inner issues, while Satoshi is a particularly unlikeable monster whom you want to suffer for, even if he’s a teenager. Isaka also uses flashbacks to show how the rivalry began and to explore emotions and concerns.
Both had great plot arcs in this novel, and I liked how the author blended them together. Another key character, Nanao, whose name in the movie was changed to Ladybug, is a young professional killer with a conscience who just joined the game.
Nanao is a charmer whose worst trait is horrible bad luck. It’s entertaining to observe all of Nanao’s dramatic and funny setbacks in Bullet Train, and it’s clear that he’s cursed, a truth he meets with grief and fatalism. As the narrative develops, you can’t help but feel for Nanao, and his sadness draws you in.
He’s also a talented operator, especially in difficult situations, which gives him a fighting chance against his oppone nts.
The times when this ingenuity surfaces are quite fantastic. I thought Nanao’s story arc was one of the greatest in Bullet Train, and I enjoyed seeing the other side of his unluckiness come into play, even though the character never realized what happened to him.
Tangerine and Lemon are Bullet Train’s final two killers. Despite their similar looks, Tangerine and Lemon are totally distinct people with clashing personalities. While Tangerine is an organized professional who loves classic literature, Lemon is a flaky, quirky murderer who loves the Thomas and Friends TV kids show.
This makes for an intriguing odd-couple combination, as the two characters, who don’t always like or understand each other, must sort out the train chaos. Lemon is a far better character than Tangerine, who acts as a straight man to some of the more ridiculous ones.
Lemon is a charming and fascinating figure whose unique perspective on life is youthful and intelligent. I appreciated witnessing Lemon’s emotions and answers to challenges, especially because he relies on teachings from Thomas in Friends when assessing others.
This leads to amazing moments, since he can see through tactics that have misled other characters. As the book went on, it was fantastic to witness the depth of Tangerine and Lemon’s friendship, which led to one of the greatest sequences.
Each character’s journey was great, and I loved seeing them evolve. Some fans who watched the trailer expressed their fear of its impact on the aesthetics of the Japanese environment.
The movie is based on a famous Japanese novel, in which the story is supposed to revolve around Japanese characters. While we’re happy to see our favorite actors getting booked, we can’t shake away the feeling that the casting is irrelevant.
The book is originally in Japanese with many canonically Japanese characters. Ladybug’s real name in the book is Nanao, while Prince’s is Satoshi. Sure, there are Japanese actors in the cast: Koji, Sanada, Oka, and Fukuhara. Still, the fact that only four of the 15-person cast are Japanese, and one of them plays a train attendant, and most of the others are yakuza members, is a little disconcerting.
We hope the movie lives up to the expectations and satisfies all those who have read the book. If you want to know more about bullet trains in Japan, don’t miss the article.