Bullet Train (15, 126 mins)
Verdict: Not worth boarding
The Japanese do not attack railroads. Or at least, when they do, everything still runs on time – disgruntled staff stop charging passengers for tickets.
But if there is ever a desire to suddenly cancel a service between Tokyo and Kyoto, the bullet train takes about ten minutes.
The journey hardly started before serious signal problems occurred. Notably, there is indication that the screenplay is written by someone (Zak Olkewicz) with a fourth form of humor.
Thus, a grown-up assassin (Brian Tyree Henry) becomes devoted to the stories of Thomas the Tank Engine.
‘Everything I learned about people, I learned from Thomas,’ he says, ‘and apparently we can all relish the irony of a deadly hitman driving a 250 mph train on an anthropomorphic locomotive for five years. To cherish by referring to the knowledge of. -Children.
If there is ever a desire to suddenly cancel a service between Tokyo and Kyoto, the bullet train takes about ten minutes.
The joke, you see, is in the dissonance. Although when I say joke, I mean the burden which poor sly Henry is obliged to carry, beyond the point at which you want the fat controller to sit on it and put us all out of our misery .
The author, in fairness to Olkiewicz, may have lifted the running Thomas Gag from Kotaro Isaka’s novel on which this silly and dissonantly violent comedy-action thriller is based.
Somehow, someone at Sony Pictures would have thought that there was material here worthy of a proper heavyweight cast, led by Brad Pitt, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson in support, and Michael Shannon, Channing Tatum, Sandra Bullock, and Ryan. Reynolds was in a cameo.
Pitt plays a hitman named Ladybug. His extended ‘joke’ is that he is not a murderer by nature, but a sentient cove. He wears a bucket hat to create even more distance between himself and the standard film representation of an assassin, though of course he’s as brutal as the script needs to be.
Feeding crappy instructions into the ladybug’s earpiece is its own controller—a rather thin one that transpires, mostly played by the unseen bull. She wants him to board the bullet train to Kyoto and snatch a mysterious briefcase.
This assignment brings him into conflict with another pair of mercenaries played by Henry and Johnson, the West Ham-supporting Cockneys codenamed Lemons and Tangerines.
Let me add here that I went to see this movie with my eldest daughter on Tuesday night and she pronounced it ‘very good fun’. Definitely some great stunts. So just because it didn’t punch my ticket doesn’t mean it won’t punch your ticket
The latter, looking and sounding remarkably like Eric Idle as his ‘nudge-nudge wink-wink’ character from Monty Python, also seems unsuitable for the business of murder, slow in the extreme. But he also becomes a kind of compound of James Bond and John Wick, making him the kind of bond that sticks to your wick.
Anyway, these two retards are taking the son of a fearsome gangster on a train known as The White Death (Shannon).
Are you with me so far? If not, it really doesn’t matter. Other passengers include a sneaky schoolgirl killer (Joey King), a Mexican killer called Wolf (Rapper Bad Bunny), and a Japanese martial arts expert (Andrew Koji) intent on punishing the man who killed his son. Was thrown from a tall building, leaving the child in intensive care.
Coincidentally, this isn’t a particularly relevant story to the plot, yet its importance lies in how it’s inserted into the script, such that we’re all completely impervious to such a disturbing image. can.
As long as we know it’s for comic effect, right?
Attempting to piece this all together and largely unsuccessful is director David Leach, whose credits include Atomic Blonde (2017), Deadpool 2 (2018) and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019).
In other words, perhaps it is fair to assume that he is not much influenced by the Merchant-Ivory theory. If there’s one specific effect in Bullet Train, it’s Guy Ritchie. In fact, the excessive violence and intriguing camerawork, coupled with their tense comedic jokes, not to mention those two East End hitmen, made me realize that I hadn’t remembered Richie’s name on the bill.
Let me also add here that I went to see this movie with my eldest daughter on Tuesday night and she pronounced it ‘very good fun’. Definitely some great stunts. So just because it didn’t punch my ticket, doesn’t mean it won’t punch your ticket.
But compared to some great cinematic thrillers all or partly set on trains over the years (The Lady Vanish, Strangers on a Train, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), it should never leave siding.
Also intended for comic effect, somewhere on the train is a deadly snake, which is so venomous that it bleeds from every pore after biting you. To some of us, this sounds like a pretty decent metaphor for the film.
Predator vs. Comanche proves to be a surprise hit
our eternal summer season
The Predator, such a powerful, steamrolling vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger, seemed too much in its time when it was directed by Die Hard’s John McTiernan in 1987.
But it spawned a franchise that is still going strong, and the latest incarnation, a prequel to the other four films, is Pre (99 minutes), set in the early 18th century in the Comanche region.
If you’re a Predator fan you’ll probably find this a worthy addition, though I can only imagine what Arnie thinks about the direct-to-streaming release. Native American actress Amber Midthunder dominates the story as Naru, a courageous young hunter desperate to prove her worth to the tribe’s dubious men.
By the way, most of the cast is Native American, which is commendable but raises a question on the dialogue, which is full of modern white-male colloquialism. ‘Who has called you?’ When Naru embarks on a hunting expedition, an arrogant male warrior ridicules a line, a line taken away from any high-school drama of the 21st century.
Native American actress Amber Midthunder dominates the story as Naru, a courageous young hunter desperate to prove her worth to the tribe’s dubious men.
As it turns out, casual sexism is the least of Naru’s problems. She can throw a tomahawk with unmatched accuracy, but she has snarling mountain lions to contend with, and hostile French fur trappers, and of course, most challenging, a translucent killer alien.
Director Dan Trachtenberg does a fine job until a thrilling finale, and headdresses his skilled cinematographer, Jeff Cutter, who worked with Trachtenberg on the spectacular first feature of 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Another debut feature, Our Eternal Summer (HHHII, 72 minutes) is a French film in which a group of carefree teenagers, doing all the things they do in French teen films, are suddenly stripped of their innocence, When a number of them drown after a late night swim off the coast of the Mediterranean.
Barely an hour and a quarter long, Emily Aussel’s admirably brief film deals primarily with the grief, guilt, and guilt that follows this tragedy.
It’s a coming-of-age story, really, one that intelligently keeps the older guys out of the picture and is very well acted by a first-time group.
Available on Pre Disney+. Our eternal summer is upon Mubi.