Skip to main content

Bullet Train Unleashes Big Laughs And Awesome Action In Extended Footage At CinemaCon

Brad Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson fight in Bullet Train
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

David Leitch knows a thing or two about making action sequences. He's a former stunt performer himself, but since becoming a director he has delivered some spectacular ass-kicking on the big screen, his credits including John Wick, Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and Atomic Blonde. His next feature, Bullet Train (which reunites him with Brad Pitt), will be arriving soon – and based on what we saw today at CinemaCon, it seems like a fair bet that it is going to be on of the most thrilling and fun blockbusters of the upcoming summer season.

CinemaCon 2022, the annual convention for theater owners, is up and running in Las Vegas, and the festivities kicked off this evening with Sony Pictures offering an exciting look at their upcoming slate. Within this preview was a new extended look at Bullet Train, and while we just got the first trailer for the movie a few weeks ago, the new footage definitely had the crowd in Caesar's Palace's Colosseum laughing and ooh-ing and aah-ing throughout.

What we actually got to see from Bullet Train was described by director David Leitch (who introduced the footage) as the first reel, and it does an impressive job introducing many of the main characters and the multi-tiered plotting. Dropping us into modern Tokyo, the movie first introduces audiences to a mysterious man who is nicknamed Ladybug (Brad Pitt): a hired gun who has recently found enlightenment and self-actualization thanks to some very helpful psychotherapy. 

As "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees plays non-diegetically on the soundtrack, Ladybug talks on the phone with a woman (Sandra Bullock) who seems to be his handler. This is his first job in a while, and he's particularly nervous because he has what he describes as a terrible bad luck streak that sees people die even when he's not on a kill mission (this is illustrated via a flashback sequence that sees a blackmailing job go awry when a suicidal bellhop leaps from the top of a building onto a car that Ladybug is sitting in).

While making his way to a storage locker filled with equipment, Ladybug accidentally bumps into a stranger (Andrew Koji) – who we see get on the bullet train that Brad Pitt's character will soon be on. In the locker, Ladybug picks up some strange equipment, including firecrackers and "sleeping powder," and he opts not to take the gun that has been provided for him. Just as the train is about to leave, he slips through the doors and gets onboard.

Meanwhile, the stranger from earlier heads toward one of the first class cars, and on his way passes two British tough guys who we learn are operating with the nicknames Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor Johnson). It's made clear that they are partners... but they are the kinds of friends who are constantly bickering and at each other's throats.

Back with Ladybug, we learn that his mission is to acquire a briefcase that is full of money and has a sticker on the handle, but he freaks out when he learns that it is in the possession of multiple individuals, and he regrets not taking the gun. It also appears that his ride is going to be a short one, as he discovers that he has lost his ticket when he is approached by one of the train's crew members (Masi Oka). He's going to have to get off at the next stop.

Returning to Andrew Koji's character, we watch as he searches for someone in a particular seat, keeping a gun by his side. When he gets to the row he is looking for he is surprised to find a young woman (Joey King) sitting there, and he thinks he has made a mistake. During his hesitation, the woman sticks a stun gun up under his chin, causing him to pass out, and she quietly states, "You found her."

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry in Bullet Train

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Ladybug searches for the targeted briefcase, repeating his anxieties about his job to his handler, and he is over the moon when he finds what he is looking for with only a cursory glance at a luggage rack. Things seem to be looking up for him.

Lemon and Tangerine continue to fight in their seats, with the former objecting to his silly nickname, but they become much more focused when they realized that their neighbor across the aisle from them (Logan Lerman) is starting to wake up. As it turns out, the young man is the son of a gangster known as The White Death, and while he was recently kidnapped, Lemon and Tangerine were hired to rescue him and return the ransom money in full – hence why they are all together on the bullet train.

The story of exactly how Lemon and Tangerine pulled off the extraction is recounted because they disagree about the number of people who were killed during the job. We see them execute the executions in a stylish, fourth-wall breaking flashback of violence that features a killer punchline proving one of the two men correct. 

After getting a call, Tangerine wants to be sure that they have eyes on the money that they are meant to return to The White Death – a gangster with a violent reputation – and has Lemon go retrieve the briefcase from the luggage rack. Naturally, things start to get heated when Lemon realizes that the ransom is gone.

Ladybug, who has the briefcase and we see walk past Joey King's character in first class, thinks that his luck is turning around... but, of course, that doesn't last long. He is confronted by a menacing man (Bad Bunny) who stares daggers at him before trying to plunge a knife into his chest. Fortunately, the only thing that gets stabbed in Ladybug's phone. As they crash through a plate glass window into a train car with a bar, the two men tussle. The attacker seems to be on a mission of vengeance, swearing that he will ruin Ladybug's life, but the hired gun has no idea who he is, and does his best to fend off his swings and fight back using the money-filled briefcase as a weapon. Before the scene could conclude, the footage ended.

When it comes to preview material like this, the best result is the audience wishing that it didn't end – and that's exactly the feeling that permitted Caesar's Palace's Colosseum at the end of the Bullet Train segment of Sony's presentation. Clearly the narrative is juggling a whole hell of a lot, but it has a madcap energy that is magnetic,  and a number of laugh-out-loud moments. It looks like it has all of the best qualities of David Leitch's past films, and hopefully that will ultimately amount to it being his best movie yet.

Bullet Train is based on the book of the same name by Kōtarō Isaka (originally published in Japan with the title Maria Beetle), and it features an immense ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz, Sandra Bullock, and more. We've been waiting for this one for a while, as the film was shot back in late 2020, but it will be playing in theaters everywhere on July 29.

You can learn more about Bullet Train via our Quick Things guide for the action flick, For more about the films that are set to come out between now and the end of the year, check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.