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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Discussions about possibility of finding peace as the result of a violent situation, although characters are rarely, if ever, successful at this. A discussion about luck (one character is said to have bad luck, another to have good luck) -- and about whether such a thing is real. It could be outlook and attitude instead. But these things aside, the movie is really mostly about adrenaline and carnage.
Positive Role Models
While characters are sometimes heroic and are certainly skilled warriors, they are all on the wrong side of the law, killing and causing damage without repercussions.
Of the four most central characters, two are White men; otherwise, cast is quite diverse, including a clever, fierce woman, a Black man, several Japanese characters, and a Latino character. They're all criminals of a sort, but they're interesting and likable too.
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Violence & Scariness
Extreme, over-the-top, comic book-style violence. Guns and shooting. Huge blood spurts, lots and lots of blood. Poisoned characters bleed from eye sockets and vomit. Deaths. Exploding gun blows character's face off. Sword fighting; characters are stabbed and sliced open. Meat hook through man's head. Characters slammed into walls, solid objects. Heavy punching and fighting. Hitting with blunt objects. Knives, stabbing, knife throwing. Car crash. Strangling person with plastic bag. Child with bruised, bloody face is in the hospital (he was thrown from a rooftop); child in peril. Taser gun. Character falls onto roof of car. House on fire. Poisonous snake.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief but graphic sex scene, viewed through window, shows a woman on all fours and a man thrusting from behind. Another couple kiss while lying in bed.
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Strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "c--ksucker," "t-ts," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "ass," "goddamn," "bastard," "d--k," "pr--k," "damn," "douche bag."
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Products & Purchases
Corona beer and Fiji Water prominently displayed.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine at wedding. Sleeping powder in bottle of water. Brief drug-related dialogue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bullet Train is an extremely bloody, violent action thriller starring Brad Pitt about criminals and murderers who are trying to kill each other and stay alive on a high-speed Japanese train. It's weightless but well made and a fun ride, if you're mature enough for the content. Violence is almost comically intense, with guns and shooting, heavy blood sprays, knives, swords, and punching. Characters die, and a child is in peril. A person's face is blown off, and another's face is impaled with a meat hook. Poisoned characters bleed from their eye sockets and vomit before dying. Language is also strong, with frequent use of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. There's a brief but graphic sex scene that shows a woman on all fours and a man thrusting from behind her. Another couple kiss in bed. There's brief drug-related dialogue, wine at a wedding, and sleeping powder in a bottle of water. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With gleefully excessive violence and little depth, this oversized action thriller executes its many moving parts with skill, but it's Pitt's dopey, languid performance that keeps the balance. Directed by David Leitch and based on a novel by Kotaro Isaka, Bullet Train is a little like a multiple-character heist movie such as Ocean's Eleven or Logan Lucky, except that the why and how is less important than the what, which in this case is the fight scenes. The movie delights in pitting its many trained fighters and killers against as many obstacles as possible. Suspense is generated when characters sometimes come back from certain defeat (such as one who's thrown off the train, jumps back onto its tail end, and then tries to work his way back inside) or when a previously planted item -- like a poisonous snake -- pops up again.
Thunderous, nonstop movies filled with constant fighting can get exhausting -- see Free Fire, for example -- but director Leitch, a former stunt performer and coordinator who turned to filmmaking with John Wick, has a good sense of rhythm. His stops and starts, flashbacks and reveals all effectively build a rhythm that flows and doesn't feel oppressive. But Pitt is the secret weapon. Ladybug can certainly fight, but the character is more of a talker than a fighter, and he's forever looking for ways to make things easier on himself. His laid-back quality adds a soft, sweet center to a hard, crunchy movie. (Henry's character's passion for Thomas the Tank Engine is also a nice, sweet touch.) All in all, Bullet Train may disappear into the horizon fairly soon after viewing, but it's a fun ride while it lasts.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.