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Bullet Train

1975 2h 35m Mystery & Thriller List
Reviews 56% Audience Score 100+ Ratings Terrorist Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) rounds up a gang of misfits and malcontents to help stage an elaborate ransom scheme. They plant a bomb on one of Japan's "bullet trains" and demand $5 million, adding that the bomb will detonate if the train's speed for any reason dips below 80 kph. Transit Chief Kuromochi (Ken Utsui) does his best to handle the situation from afar, while, on board, train conductor Aoki (Shinichi Chiba) tries to locate the device before it's too late. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (4) Critics Reviews
Anton Bitel Little White Lies Here things go wrong as much as they go right, as plans constantly have to be revised, moves improvised and risks taken, adding to tensions that are already high-speed to the point of exploding. Apr 24, 2023 Full Review Pieter-Jan Van Haecke Psychocinematography The Bullet Train is a highly engaging and satisfying thriller narrative. Jul 13, 2023 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Those who assumed that Speed was a knockoff of a certain Bruce Willis hit -- “Die Hard on a bus” was how wags described the Keanu Reeves flick before it opened -- might be surprised to learn that the earlier film it most resembles is this Japanese effort. Rated: 3/4 Apr 4, 2023 Full Review Tim Brayton Alternate Ending There's a ton of material in this film, and all of it benefits from a sense of exhausting duration. All of it would, I think, still receive that benefit at only two hours. Rated: 3.5/5 Sep 6, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (21) audience reviews
DanTheMan 2 Before Brad Pitt rode the Bullet Train, Sonny Chiba drove it. Despite the sheer length of the uncut version running at over 2 and a half hours, The Bullet Train never once lets up and chugs along at a breakneck pace as a highly engaging and remarkably tense original thriller. A former businessman who lost his manufacturing company to bankruptcy and separated from his wife and son a year earlier is desperate to make ends meet and start over. He collaborates with an activist and a former employee in an elaborate plot to extort money from the government. He threatens that one of Japan's Bullet Trains will explode if it drops below 80km/h unless his ransom is paid. It's a race against time for both the passengers and police to find and defuse the bomb before an imminent catastrophe unfolds... Despite his name being proudly spotlighted in the opening credits, Sonny Chiba is barely in this film but makes a tremendous impact as the driver of the titular train. Instead, the film focuses on fleshing out and providing a sympathetic motivation for its "villain" Tetsuo Okita played wonderfully by Ken Takakura and the reality of his accompanying henchmen played by Kei Yamamoto and Akira Oda respectively. While the main plot is most certainly about the imminent safety of the 1,500 passengers onboard the Shinkansen, the real focus is on the Police's efforts to track down Okita and his accomplices, complying with any and all demands he submits and ultimately figure out how on earth they are going to defuse the bomb. Meanwhile all the passengers are slowly succumbing to mass hysteria wondering how on earth they are going to get out of this as they slowly wait to die. It's a nicely directed affair from Jun'ya Satô, someone I'll definitely be seeing more of when it comes to his adaptation of Golgo 13 and Yamato. He makes good use of long sweeping shots and the benefit from shooting on the real train provides a sense of claustrophobia that you can't really replicate in a studio. There are plenty of tense moments throughout be it car chases or near misses, he delivers. When there's the use of the Toei special effects department, they outdo themselves with effects that are essentially seamless, the shots of the model Shinkansen are stupendously woven into the rest of the footage, they fooled me into thinking they were the real thing at times. The music composed by Hachiro Aoyama is one of the film's biggest highlights in many regards. It carries with it a sense of funk that wouldn't be out of place in an Italian police drama from the same time. While I have my grievances about the placement of some of the music it doesn't disappoint in terms of instrument choice. It's largely thanks to some confusion by Screenwriter Graham Yost thinking that this and the later Jon Voight film, Runaway Train, were one and the same that we ended up with the excellent Keanu Reeves film Speed that seemingly combines both plots together. With an ending shot that's guaranteed to leave a lasting impression, The Bullet Train, despite its inherent flaws, is a highly enjoyable ride from start to finish populated with great performances and a jazzy funk score that will have you toe-tapping long after the credits roll. I'll definitely be watching this again in the future. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/04/23 Full Review Danya Great movie.. laughed the entire time. Just what we need at a time like this. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/28/22 Full Review richard r It's an action comedy. Lots of great acting. Some good surprises. It's a fun movie! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review cees t I prefer Speed and Crank, but this is adequate. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review dustin d "The Bullet Train" is an exhilarating suspense movie with realistic depictions of bullet train operations, a believable story featuring characters with clear motivations, and a life-like (and somewhat cynical) look at police tactics. This was the inspiration for the movie Speed, but should be appreciated on its own merits. The main criticism people have of the film seems to be it is marketed as a Sonny Chiba film when he really has a secondary role as the train conductor. The sentiment is he was miscast, even though he is quite good in the role. High-quality suspense film, overall. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Something real interesting is going on in here and I want in on it A Japanese bullet train has been loaded with a dynamite bomb with a timer that will cause it to explode if the train reaches a speed below 80 mph (I could have the speed measurement wrong). Because of the speed of the train, no one can come on or off the train and the train will have to be cautious when driving through cities until someone can figure out how to locate and disarm the bomb. "It's turning out to be a real rotten little deal." Junya Sato, director of Lost in the Wilderness, Dream of Russia, Golgo 13, The Private Police, The Ando File, The True Account of Ginza Tortures, and Never Give Up, delivers Bullet Train. The storyline for this picture will remind viewers of a cross between Pelham One Two Three and Speed. The acting is surprisingly solid and the cast includes Sonny Chiba (in a very limited role), Ken Takakura (Black Rain), Kei Yamamoto (Premonition), Eijo Go (The Executioner), Yumiko Fujita (Time and Tide), Etsuko Shihomi (Karate Bear Fighter and The Bodyguard), and Fumio Watanabe (Scorpion: Female Prisoner Cage #41). "The bomber will take the money and let the train explode anyway?" While this movie is part of the "Kill Chiba" collection, I hardly consider this a Chiba picture. He barely appears in this film at all; however, the villain delivers a solid performance and makes up for a lack of Chiba. The ultimate plot and sub plots make the film worthwhile. I will say the film is a little slow and does not come across as dramatic as the director may have intended, but I still found this film entertaining. "I can take a lot more than you can ever give out." Grade: B- Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Bullet Train

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Movie Info

Synopsis Terrorist Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) rounds up a gang of misfits and malcontents to help stage an elaborate ransom scheme. They plant a bomb on one of Japan's "bullet trains" and demand $5 million, adding that the bomb will detonate if the train's speed for any reason dips below 80 kph. Transit Chief Kuromochi (Ken Utsui) does his best to handle the situation from afar, while, on board, train conductor Aoki (Shinichi Chiba) tries to locate the device before it's too late.
Director
Junya Satô
Production Co
Toei
Genre
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
Japanese
Runtime
2h 35m