Director David Leitch knows his way around the action genre. He worked on the original JOHN WICK with Keanu Reeves before shifting to Charlize Theron’s ATOMIC BLONDE and DEADPOOL 2 with Ryan Reynolds. Basically, Leitch specializes in stylish action, and that seems to be exactly the type of mayhem and fun he’s bringing to the big screen in the upcoming movie BULLET TRAIN, opening at AMC Theatres on August 5th.
BULLET TRAIN is based on the Japanese novel “Maria Beetle” by Kōtarō Isaka. It follows a team of trained killers aboard a bullet train in Tokyo who are battling over possession of a briefcase that contains an undisclosed amount of ransom money. Brad Pitt thinks that all he has to do is get on the train, snatch the case, and exit at the next stop. Needless to say, that would make for a very boring movie, so Leitch has ensured that an array of colorful (and lethal) villains will stand in Pitt’s way as he attempts to exit the speeding train.
David Leitch was on stage at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas to tease BULLET TRAIN as part of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s CinemaCon 2022 panel. “We set out with lofty goals,” Leitch told the crowd. “To make something incredibly original. A global story that was thoroughly entertaining, full of laughs, (and) something that people would come back to the cinema for.”
Why Everyone Wants To Kill Brad Pitt
With that in mind, David Leitch exclusively showed off the first reel of footage for BULLET TRAIN, taking the CinemaCon audience through the first roughly 15 minutes. We are introduced to “Ladybug,” a seasoned assassin (played by Brad Pitt) who agrees to take a simple job from Maria Beetle (voiced on the phone by Sandra Bullock).
“My bad luck is biblical,” Ladybug tells his handler, and he isn’t exaggerating. Leitch shows us a montage of accidents that have happened to this life-long criminal over the course of his career. But this gig should be easy. The bullet train he gets himself on is 16 cars long. It spends one minute stopped at every station. And all he has to do is find a briefcase that has a sticker on its handle.
Which he does. The case is located near Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), two other criminals who know what’s in the case, and who it belongs to. From the moment they are introduced, BULLET TRAIN falls into its rhythm. Everything moves at a breakneck pace, from screenwriter Zak Olkewicz’s pitter-patter dialogue to the quick-cut editing. In some instances, it reminds me of Guy Ritchie and his early British crime wave stories… in the best way possible.
Bullet Train Will Speed Towards Theatres
The main takeaway that David Leitch wanted to get across to the gathered crowd at CinemaCon is that BULLET TRAIN was made for movie theatres, and this is the only place an audience will be able to see it.
“All of us at 87 North Productions are 100 percent committed to the cinematic experience. While we were making this film during the difficult time of masks and COVID tests, we had no doubt that one day, this would be seen in this large experience with a communal audience that only cinemas can provide,” Leitch said, to applause. “It’s always been its goal.”
BULLET TRAIN, starring Brad Pitt, Joey King, Brain Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz and more, speeds into AMC Theatres this summer.