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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review--"Bullet Train"

Bullet Train
Sony Entertainment
Bullet Train

First off, it helps that Brad Pitt is so likable on the big screen.

In Bullet Train his character, code named Ladybug, is coming off Secret Agent Rehab. He’s centered now, he’s calm, he understands that every obstacle blocking your way is an opportunity, etc.

His assignment on the train zipping from Tokyo to Kyoto is simply to burgle a particular steel briefcase from the luggage compartment. What he doesn’t know is that almost every single solitary passenger is scheming, blackmailing or trying to assassinate somebody else—for reasons somehow connected to the briefcase, or to a gang overlord known as the White Death.

The assorted passengers include the hitman team called The Twins, a white guy and a black guy who talk in lazy Cockney accents; a demure schoolgirl with deadly intentions; a Yakuza soldier who’s been coerced on board in order to save his little boy; and an assassin, the Hornet, who could be anybody.

And an incredibly poisonous viper called a boomslang is also loose. That’s right! There’s a snake on the train!

The director is David Leitch, whose resume includes making films such as Deadpool 2 and fittingly, working as Brad Pitt’s stunt double.

He’s learned well from Quentin Tarantino and British director Guy Ritchie. The assassins are immersed in pop culture, including Japanese anime, cheerful emojis and the hidden life philosophy of Thomas the Tank Engine. Characters appear with quick flashbacks of their entire life—sometimes right before they’re killed.

There are lots of twists and reversals, leading characters to ponder on luck and Fate, in between fight scenes.

The movie is frenzied, violent, dazzling, darkly humorous of course, and the climax literally jumps the rails. It is entertaining, but we’ve taken this trip before.

I’m giving Bullet Train three fairly happy emojis out of five.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.