davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
If “Bullet Train” is one of the worst movies that Brad Pitt has ever starred in — better than “Troy,” but a hair short of “The Mexican” — this big shiny nothing of a blockbuster is also a remarkable testament to the actor’s batting average over the last 30 years, and some of the best evidence we have as to why he’s been synonymous with the movies themselves for that entire time. Because that’s the thing about movie stars, and why the last of them still matter in a franchise-mad world where characters tend to be more famous than the people who play them on-screen: They often get minted in good films, but they always get proven in bad ones.
“Bullet Train” is not a good film, but Pitt is having a truly palpable amount of fun in it, and the energy that radiates off of him as he fights Bad Bunny over an explosive briefcase or styles his hair with the blow dryer function of a Japanese toilet is somehow magnetic enough to convince us that we’re having fun, too. Even though we usually aren’t. Even though this over-cranked story of strangers on a Shinkansen — a late summer write-off that feels like what might happen if someone typed “Guy Ritchie anime” into DALL-E 2 — tries so hard to mimic Pitt’s natural appeal that you can feel the movie begging for our bemusement with every frenetic cut-away and gratuitous flashback. Even though David Leitch’s cotton-candy-and-flop-sweat adaptation of Kōtarō Isaka’s “MariaBeetle” is the kind of Hollywood action movie so mindless and star-driven that it’s almost impossible to imagine how it started as a book.