End of summer fun, with Bullet Train and The Gray Man (reviews)

BULLET TRAIN, set aboard a speeding 180 mph train traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto is an action thriller from David Leitch, the director of the John Wick series. It stars Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, and a handful of other racially diverse actors. This is the last of the big new summer movies this season.

Five assassins are out to get a McGuffin briefcase and the film is colorful, funny, and ultra violent, as you would expect from the director of John Wick. It is based on a Japanese novel, and there is some international controversy since Leitch chose to cast the film with a racially diverse mix of primarily Americans, while the original novel and the story itself take place entirely in Japan with Japanese characters. Make of that what you will.

Bullet Train is rated R, and it will appeal to folks who enjoy films like Fast and Furious but secretly wish those films were far more violent. Its showing exclusively in movie theaters.

THE GRAY MAN is an espionage thriller from the Russo Brothers (Avengers:Endgame, Everything Everywhere All At Once) but less creative than their normal fair. It’s clearly meant to be the first in a franchise series for star Ryan Gosling. There are 11 more novels after this one in the series. 

Think of this as Jason-Bourne Lite. The pieces are all there, but they are not as smart, and not as exciting as the Bourne films. Chris Evans plays an outstanding bad guy, and you will have a hard time associating him with any of the hero movies where he has played Captain America. Bravo to Chris Evans.

The Gray Man is rated PG-13 and will appeal to those who like more standard spy thrillers but secretly wish they were far less interesting. Its playing in select theaters and it’s streaming on Netflix.

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