Bullet Train

Bullet Train ★½

This is trying so hard to make you think that its Japanese setting is somehow relevant, like that it’s homaging Japanese cinema or culture or something, but the constant on-screen kanji and name-dropping of Japanese locations is all a distraction from the fact that this is an awful amalgamation of action-comedy cliches that are entirely American.
Almost every cliche from the American action playbook of the last five years is here, from the flashback where characters directly address the camera, to the end fight scene where the main characters occasionally stop killing faceless bad guys to quip and announce that they’ve completed their character arcs, to non-English speaking characters (all men) who only talk in gruff voices and have simplistic motivations entirely related to either protecting their family or avenging their family, to an appearance from the man who starred in most of the films that these cliches originate from.
Real glad they took this Japanese novel written by a Japanese author and turned it into a 2-hour quip machine that is neither exciting nor funny a single time. Real glad that there are 2 (TWO) Japanese characters in this film and that the film went out of its way to make sure the main bad guy is white.
If you want a neon-tinged action-comedy about a bunch of criminals beating each other up with a Japanese setting that’s integral to the plot and tone, play Yakuza 0.

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