Ride Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train as palette cleanser after intense Thirteen Lives and Five Days at Memorial

In theaters now

Snakes on a plane, assassins on a train: Some concepts are so blood simple, they can sell themselves in a sentence fragment. Who needs verbs when you have katanas, Bad Bunny, and Brad Pitt smirking in a bucket hat? (There is in fact a snake somewhere on board this Bullet Train, though its venom-tipped slithering must compete with a thousand other ways to die.)

The film that follows largely delivers on the high-speed berserkery of its premise — a manic neon candygram stuffed with cameos and smash-cut chaos, hurtling breathlessly toward its gonzo end. Pitt gets much of the screen time as an affable and possibly lightly stoned American hitman code-named Ladybug by his brisk handler, played by Sandra Bullock (who largely appears as a disembodied voice on his phone). His job is to board a sleek commuter train bound for Kyoto, take possession of a silver briefcase, and disembark; easy-peasy.

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