An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Bullet Train which will be available 08/07/22:
2.) Plot Stability
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Keep It Simple, Star!
For Bullet Train, we have this setup:
A bunch of assassins are crammed together on one train, each looking to take possession of a suitcase.
The conflict comes naturally and the exciting action set-pieces practically write themselves.
Plus, if you can get the director of John Wick interested in making this, and/or Brad Pitt to star, the movie greenlights itself.
My point here is that you don’t always need a Nolan-level mind-fuck of a twisty, unpredictable (sometimes indecipherable) plot to catch the eye of a producer or financier.
Sometimes, in fact, I would argue most of the time, something that puts a unique spin on a straightforward story will be more than enough.
To be fair to the script, it takes this simple premise and includes lots of fun surprises and character reveals / twists. I specifically stayed away from revealing too much, as I wanted to keep this review as spoiler-free as I could so that you could experience the story yourselves.
3.) Quality of Characters
Though normally I would caution against the type of introduction (big titles for each character introduced and a few pages of introduction / exposition for each), here I thought it worked.
We get to see each character briefly as they step on the Bullet Train and then, of course, we get more information about each as the journey continues.
It was an interesting and striking way of getting all of these people on one train together, and I thought that it worked for the most part.
I also liked that each assassin had a unique “gimmick” or something that set them apart.
The Prince is so named because her parents wanted a boy, so they called her “Little Prince.” Also, in the script, she is just a teenage girl, though in the film she is played by Joey King who is in her mid-twenties.
I particularly liked Tangerine and Lemon and their banter (more about this below).
I also thought the scene of Tangerine and Lemon not agreeing how many people they had killed on a previous job, and then the flashback titled: HOW MANY PEOPLE THEY KILLED was brilliant.
And I enjoyed our “Hero” Ladybug – with his seemingly endless string of bad luck. Of course, this is accompanied by a montage of his past jobs that have gone horribly “off-the-rails” if you’ll excuse the pun.
I also really liked his continued use of positive-thinking mantras which he shared with everyone, even the killers who were out to get him.
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