MOVIE: Brad Pitt Rides a Bullet...Train

This movie is going to make it to #1 on my list at the end of the year. Unfortunately, that’s my list of the worst movies of the year. It’s one of those rare movies that, when I saw the trailers, thought it looked bad. That’s a rare feat, since trailers show the best parts.

It borrowed so much from Quentin Tarantino, and did it all so poorly. There’s some Kill Bill moments. There’s Pulp Fiction (Brad Bitt’s character wanting to quit this life and live peacefully, the way Samuel Jackson wanted to in Pulp Fiction). Oh, and there’s a suitcase everyone is after. Oh, and Pitt sometimes channels the same dumb character he played in Tarantino’s first script – True Romance. The Reservoir Dogs bit is that two contract killers are code named “Lemon” (Brian Tyree Henry) and “Tangerine” (Aaron Johnson), and they don’t like being a “pair of fruits.” (remember the bickering of code name colors for Mr. Pink in Dogs?). But director David Leitch and these horrible screenwriters (Zak Okewicz) aren’t content with those two characters just ripping off Tarantino. The annoying cockney accent Johnson displays is a Guy Ritchie bit (from the character Brad Pitt also played before in a Ritchie film).

We’re supposed to be amused that the two bickering hit men always argue over the kids show Thomas the Tank Engine. One or two times, it was cute. By the 50th time, you’ll wish this train would've gone off the tracks and killed these bozos. 

For some reason, Ladybug (Brad Pitt’s code name) has to stay on the phone with his boss (Sandra Bullock) the entire time, as he contemplates leaving the train, or talking about all his bad luck. His job is to simply jump on a bullet train, steal a silver briefcase, and leave. Yet others on the train make that impossible. 

Ladybug refused to bring a gun, because after psychiatrist visits and a new perspective, he’s all about spouting goofy phrases like: “only hurt people hurt people.”

Tangerine and Lemon are the ones with the silver briefcase. They’re bringing it to a feared Russian crime boss named White Death (Michael Shannon), alone with his son, who is a bit of a Hunter Biden character. They handcuff him to his seat and…talk Thomas the Tank with him.

There’s a hired killer named Hornet (Zazie Beetz), who likes to call everyone “bitch.” She also likes to use venom from an African Boomslang snake to kill her victims. That gave me two pet peeves. The first is that at a flashback of a wedding, seeing everyone bleeding from their eyes, ears, and mouth at once – as if they all got the poison at the same time. The second is that the venom from that snake often takes hours before it has an effect on humans. Combine that with the fact that she’d have to get these exotic snakes and get the poison out of them…seems a lot easier to just use a poison that’s quicker and easier to acquire. But at least it provided for the best moment I had in the film. One of the Boomslang snakes gets out of a different suitcase and is slithering around, so my wife leaned over and said, “This movie should have been called ‘Snake on a Train’.”

Anyway, back to the other train passengers. There’s Kimura (Andrew Koji), who wants to find the person that pushed his boy off a building. That’s a woman named Prince (Joey King), who pairs up with Kimura in ways that are utterly ridiculous.

Some of the fight scenes were cool (the director was involved in John Wick and his first movie was Atomic Blonde, which stunk, aside from the fight scenes). A few times you’ll think of Jackie Chan type of stuff, but even those scenes were ruined by things happening you can’t buy. For example, someone throwing a knife, Ladybug lifts the metal briefcase as a shield, and the knife bounces off it and goes into the chest of the person that threw it. Now, I’m no physicist but, I’m guessing there wouldn’t be enough momentum from a knife ricocheting off something, and staying that high in the air. The trajectory isn’t the same as if it were a bullet. But complaining about knives and the venom of snakes, are really small potatoes.

It’s just the fact that this borrows from about 20 movies I’ve seen before – Boondock Saints, RockNRolla, Smokin’ Aces, and last year's horrible American Night (fun fact: Jeremy Piven was in those last three movies).

A couple of the jokes worked, but hundreds of them didn’t. And I dig Lemon calling his gun Lucille like he’s B.B. King with his Gibson guitar.     

I also got a kick out of Brad Pitt saying he was good with faces (not sure if that was purposely put in there, as he recently came out talking about a condition he has where he can’t recognize faces).

I’m sure crowds that flock to idiotic action pictures will have a blast. My wife and I didn’t. It was two hours of torture. I felt like I was bleeding out of my ears and eyeballs like the Boomslang victims in this. It’s the biggest waste of a good cast, in what will easily be the worst movie of the year.

I saw one critic say it was 20 minutes too long. I think it was an hour and 58 minutes too long! That same critic said it “went off the rails.” I’m just not sure it was ever on the rails.

0 stars.

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