Never ending train ride

Action-packed film leaves audience on the edge of their seats


Photo courtesy of IMDb

“Bullet Train,” leaves viewers amazed by the unpredictable plot and the action-packed intensity of the film.

Leah Pickhinke, Staff Reporter

Released on Aug. 5, 2022, “Bullet Train” is a movie about luck and fate that actively participates as the power to the plot from start to finish.

(Contains spoilers)

Taking place on a bullet train in Tokyo Japan, five characters, with the help of others later on, go through triumph and conflict in order to capture a briefcase and kill The White Death (Michael Shannon). 

The beginning of the film starts out with Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji) sitting next to his son Wataru (Akiyoshi Ching) in a hospital room. Quickly we find out that Wataru has been pushed off of a building and is severely injured. Yuichi becomes depressed and blames himself for the incident, as his father The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada) tells him that fathers are supposed to look out for their children and protect them.

Yuichi plans to get revenge on whoever pushed his son and sets out to find the person responsible. Upon this all, the main character and protagonist, Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is set out on an assassination mission, covering for another assassin, to recover a briefcase containing money with a train sticker on the handle. On the way to the train station, Ladybug gets bumped into by Yuichi, causing him to drop a key to a locker and his train ticket. Ladybug has to break into the locker in order to ready his weapons of choice. Ignoring his handler Maria Beetle (Sandra Bullock), Ladybug chooses a sleeping sedative and firecrackers over a gun.

Aboard the train are “twin” brothers, Tangerine (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) sent by main antagonist and major crime boss The White Death, to bring his son (Logan Lerman) back home to him, as he is a drug addict and can’t be trusted by himself. Tangerine explains to the two The White Death’s backstory about him being a Russian traveler who ended up working as the right hand man of a Yakuza boss named Minegishi (Nobuaki Shimamoto), until he ended up forming his own gang and betraying Minegishi and killing him, while Lemon tells them about how you can relate philosophy to “Thomas the Tank Engine” by comparing people to the characters in the show. Meaning someone can be a Diesel, a bad person and others can be a Thomas or Henry, a kind or good person.

Yuichi boards the train after quickly finding a lead on who pushed his son Wataru off of the building. Before progressing his search on the train, he is tased by The Prince (Joey King) who poses as a sweet girl to throw off her true personality and character.The Prince tells Yuichi that she was the one who pushed his son off, and that if he doesn’t cooperate with her she will have his son killed. The Prince then manages to rig a gun so that if anyone uses the gun it would go off in their face so that she can’t be threatened or harmed.

Before anyone can get to the case, Ladybug successfully recovers it before being told that he had to step off of the train at the next stop because he had lost his ticket before the ride. Before he steps out, he comes face to face with another assassin known as The Wolf (Bad Bunny). A flashback shows The Wolf working his way up in the cartel under a boss named El Saguaro (Julio Gabay) and then finding a wife (Andrea Munoz). However, everyone at Wolf’s wedding was poisoned, including El Saguaro and Wolf’s wife. The Wolf believes that Ladybug is responsible for the deaths, as he had been waiting tables for the wedding. The two immediately break out into an intense fight that leads to the death of Wolf by getting accidentally stabbed into the heart from his knife ricocheting off of the briefcase. Confused, Ladybug covers up the death and calls Maria who tells him that at the wedding the drinks were spiked by a poisonous snake’s venom, that just so happens to be on the train. 

Ladybug, not knowing what to do, hides the briefcase in the trash can and leaves the cart, but Prince and Yuichi sneak in and uncover the dead man and the briefcase hidden in the trash can.

At this point in the movie I was super into it and had to continue watching. The movie contains several plot twists that had me second guessing myself and wondering what would happen next. This had to be one of the most random, chaotic yet well put together movies I have ever seen. I could feel the conflict rising as the action got more and more intense and the plot kept thickening. 

Lemon and Tangerine notice that the Briefcase is missing and that The White Death’s son has been poisoned by the same venom that killed The Wolf’s wedding guests. They quickly clean up the blood and cover his eyes with glasses before going off to find Ladybug.

Ladybug encounters Lemon in the quiet car and recognizes him from an old job in Johannesburg. They fight, with Ladybug trying to disarm Lemon. Ladybug ultimately knocks Lemon out and spikes his water bottle with sleeping powder. 

Ladybug pays one of the passengers to switch clothing with him to get away from Tangerine, then calls Maria, who tells him that there was another assassin passenger aboard the train named The Hornet (Zazie Beetz) who was the one who poisoned both the wedding guests and The White Death’s son. 

Ladybug soon encounters The Hornet and they fight until The Hornet sticks her snake’s venom into Ladybug’s arm, but forgets to push the venom out of the syringe. Ladybug takes the needle out of his hand and quickly stabs the venom The Hornet’s neck and takes a dose of anti-venom in case he would be attacked with the venom again. 

Meanwhile, Tangerine has to make a brief stop to reassure The White Death’s accomplices that everything is going according to plan and that they had the briefcase and boy secured. 

Tangerine finds Ladybug and fights him, believing that he was the one who poisoned the son. Ladybug pushes the emergency exit that causes the two to nearly fly out of the train before pulling themselves back in. White Death contacts Tangerine to let him know that if they do not show up with the Son and the briefcase, he would kill everyone on the train. The two attempt to fool White Death’s men by posing as brothers and using a different briefcase, but an unfortunate turn of events happens and Ladybug, with just his luck, accidentally opens it revealing that there is only clothing in the case. The two run to scramble back onto the train.

In the midst of it all, Lemon finds Prince and Yuichi together and he gets a suspicious feeling about the two. Lemon shoots Yuichi, but he knows better not to trust Prince. Unfortunately, he drank the spiked water before and ended up passing out. Prince then shoots Lemon in the chest and stashes him and Yuichi in the bathroom and ties the door shut.

Tangerine finds Lemon’s body and sobs next to him on the floor and puts his necklace around Lemon’s neck and then sets out to kill whoever killed him.

Tangerine talks to White Death again, who says that he bought every last ticket to Kyoto so there would only be the remaining few on the train. 

After hopping back onto the train, Tangerine runs into Prince and is almost fooled by her innocent act until he notices the diesel sticker that Lemon placed on Prince before he was shot. Before Tangerine can fight Prince, Ladybug, fooled by Prince’s innocence attacks Tangerine again and they fight until Ladybug accidentally shoots Tangerine in the neck, leaving him to bleed out on the train.

Ladybug tells The Prince’s that they need to get off at the next stop. The Elder steps onto the train as Ladybug and Prince talk. The Elder knew something was wrong when he had overheard Prince’s voice when he was on the phone with his son Yuichi. The Elder picks a close seat to both Prince and Ladybug and does not break eye contact with them, scaring Ladybug off before he gets bitten by the snake on board. Luckily due to the anti-venom that Ladybug took, he was okay. 

While Ladybug is in the bathroom taking care of the snake, The Elder confronts Prince who prepares as her gunman gets ready to kill Wataru. However, The Elder prepared for this and had his own assassin posing as a nurse, and she killed Prince’s guy before he could touch Wataru.

The Prince flees and Ladybug comes back exhausted from the long ride. Ladybug tells The Elder that he believes he is unlucky, but The Elder tells him that everything is a matter of fate and luck and that he is not unlucky. He then tells the story of how he was Minegishi’s original confidant before White Death betrayed him, and he has vowed revenge on White Death for the death of his wife.

Yuichi and lemon wake up, as it turns out Lemon was wearing a bulletproof vest. When Lemon sees that Tangerine has been shot, he immediately tries to go after Ladybug in hopes of getting revenge for his brother. Yuichi and The Elder tell Lemon and Ladybug that White Death was coming and they needed to prepare and work together in order to defeat him and get The Elder’s revenge.

The train makes a final stop in Kyoto as White Death prepares to board the train. Prince comes face to face with White Death and reveals that she is his daughter. She felt enraged that he favored his son over her and wanted to kill him, but instead of tricking White Death with the rigged gun, he simply walked away from her, acting as if she was meaningless. 

After roles were sorted, it was decided that Ladybug would go outside to buy some time for the others to set up inside to take down White Death and his goons. While explaining to Ladybug that everyone on that train was there because he orchestrated it- meaning he has wanted revenge for the death of his wife (Johanna Watts), who was killed in a car accident that was an assassination attempt on him, the goons open the case, setting a bomb off and exploding some of the goons. 

Soon The Elder and White Death battle it out on the train while Ladybug and Lemon fight the accomplices, but Lemon throws himself and a goon out the window, instantly killing both of them. In the meantime, Ladybug hits the emergency break button, throwing everyone and everything out of place on the train. The Elder, nearly getting killed, sees his opportunity to impale The White Death into his heart. The train doesn’t completely stop in time and crashes through a city, destroying everything in its path. 

I was heartbroken after watching Lemon throw himself off of the train, as this movie helps build connections with every character, it felt personal. I did not expect the train to crash through the city, or an intense battle to go down on the same bullet train they had been on all day. When I realized that so much had happened in the span of a few hours it shocked me and I was eager to see the ending of the film.

Once the train comes to a stop, White Death picks up the rigged gun and attempts to shoot The Elder, but not knowing the gun was rigged, shoots himself in the head. 

The end of the movie was very abrupt, the entire movie was very unpredictable but the end just sort of happened. Ladybug and the others finally realized that they needed to work together to defeat The White Death instead of working separately. The end was wholesome when Maria showed up and congratulated Ladybug and told him he was lucky. But after Ladybug denies his luck, the end scene shows a telephone pole hitting Maria’s car and the two stand in silence until Maria says that he is right. 

I think every aspect of the movie can be highly appreciated. From the twisting plot, to the intense action and fun colors, “Bullet Train,” exceeded and went beyond expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by every twist in the plot and even though the ending was abrupt, I thought it fit right into the movie just fine. I would watch this movie again and still appreciate the exhilaration and entertainment the film gives.