By Britta DeVore | Published
From his breakthrough role in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt has become a household name and proven that his talents span across multiple genres. From action flicks to thrillers, comedies to romantic dramas, there’s nothing the Fight Club star can’t do. Over the last few years, the two-time Academy Award winner has taken somewhat of a backseat from acting, leaning more into the role of producer on such films as Blonde and She Said, but in 2022, he snapped back into action in a star-studded feature titled Bullet Train, now streaming on Netflix.
Although the Brad Pitt-led feature hit some snags with critics, many appreciated the martial arts choreography that went into Bullet Train.
Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Brad Pitt leads the cast in Bullet Train as a skilled assassin who finds himself on board a dangerous high-speed train packed with other killers who are on the hunt for him. The film took its story from Kōtarō Isaka’s 2010 novel, Maria Beetle, with Sam Malissa translating it into English.
Along with Brad Pitt, the film also features performances from Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Sandra Bullock, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, and Michael Shannon.
The title was a global box office success, raking in a whopping $239.3 million against its $85.9-90 million budget. Although the Brad Pitt-led feature hit some snags with critics, many appreciated the martial arts choreography that went into Bullet Train, something that makes complete sense when one considers that Leitch was behind the first film in the John Wick franchise which is also known for its well-choreographed gun-fu scenes.
Bullet Train Accused Of White-Washing
While performances by Brad Pitt, Joey King, and other members of Bullet Train’s ensemble were praised by fans and critics alike, one piece of the feature that struck a wrong note with many was the under-representation of Japanese actors in the adaptation of a Japanese novel.
And, even though it was an adaptation that some could argue gave those adapting it free reign when it came to casting, the plot strongly stuck to Kōtarō Isaka’s original storyline, making it unfair to those with a Japanese background who may have been more suited for the leading parts.
Further adding to the argument of white-washing and the overuse of Japanese culture and story in a predominantly white actor-led film is the title’s soundtrack. During his journey of no-nonsense butt-kicking, Brad Pitt’s character works his way through the bullet train to songs like Bee Gees’s “Stayin’ Alive” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero,” which is harmless on the surface but when it’s taken into account that the film used Japanese covers of the classic tunes, it adds to the negative criticism that has followed the feature since its release.
What’s Next For Brad Pitt?
Since Brad Pitt’s non-stop thrill ride on Bullet Train pulled into the station, the By the Sea star has otherwise only appeared in Damien Chazelle’s star-packed feature Babylon. For 2023 he is backing projects including Landscape with Invisible Hand, The Killer, and Beetlejuice 2 in a production capacity. Fans can next expect to see him in Apple TV+’s original feature, Wolves, a thriller directed and penned by Jon Watts that will also star George Clooney.
Following his turn starring opposite fellow Hollywood legend George Clooney, Brad Pitt’s name is also attached to an untitled Joseph Kosinski-helmed project that will see the Bullet Train star leading in a sports action drama. And, for any fans who were hoping that the return of X-Force member Peter (Rob Delaney) meant that Pitt may return to his role as Vanisher – who met an untimely death in the franchise’s second feature – in Deadpool 3, the chances are low that this will be the case but we won’t completely rule anything out!
While there is no set release date for either Wolves or the untitled project coming from the Top Gun: Maverick helmer, there are plenty of ways to catch Brad Pitt on streaming services. And, with Bullet Train now on Netflix, it’s the perfect time to get caught up with what the World War Z star has been doing with his time over the last few years.