All aboard the CinemaCon Express! Sony‘s presentation at CinemaCon 2022 has officially left the station, and its first destination was David Leitch’s Bullet Train. Sony welcomed Leitch to the stage after some opening statements and a brief sizzle reel featuring forthcoming content. While addressing the crowd, Leitch spoke about filming during the height of the pandemic. He says they set out to make something original. He wanted to make a film that would make people want to get back into theaters.
Leitch says Bullet Train is an action thriller with a comedic edge and promises that you’ve never seen Brad Pitt in a role like this. Next, Leitch showed the crowd the movie’s “first reel” which is basically the first fifteen minutes of the film minus credits. Of course SPOILERS follow for the movie’s first act.
The footage opens with the Japanese cover of “Staying Alive,” heard in the trailers, with a shot of Brad Pitt walking the streets of Tokyo. It’s a clever riff on Saturday Night Fever. Pitt’s character is an investigator named Ladybug, who’s fallen on hard times. Sandra Bullock is his handler, but you never see her in the footage, you only hear her voice. No doubt this was payback for his extended cameo in The Lost City.
Next, the clip introduced new characters, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, as a duo named Lemon and Tangerine. Pitt has to retrieve a suitcase from them. Masi Oka from Heroes is a train attendant. Andrew Koji is an assassin who steals Pitt’s train ticket. Joey King then enters the mix as, you guessed it, another killer who easily dispatches Koji. Logan Lerman is a guy Lemon and Tangerine have saved from a kidnapping, intending to return him to his father, a Russian gangster. The briefcase that they possess, and that Pitt is after, contains his recovered ransom.
An ultra-violent flashback montage follows, featuring Lemon and Tangerine killing 17 bad guys (and one civilian by accident) and rescuing Lerman, set to the tune “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” by Engelbert Humperdinck. This seems evocative of the entire movie’s tone – hard edged action with a darkly comedic vibe. One thing’s for sure – it’s definitely R-rated, with Taylor-Johnson and Tyree Henry slicing people up with swords and more.
Finally, Pitt’s Ladybug snatches the briefcase Lemon and Tangerine foolishly put in the baggage car, but Bad Bunny attacks him in the first big action scene. Bad Bunny’s character wants revenge for his dead wife, whose death is likely linked to the gangster squad. Pitt fights him but isn’t trying to hurt him too badly, which tracks as the movie, so far, is setting him up as a guy who’s reluctant to kill. Early in the footage, Bullock tries to get him to take a gun from a storage locker she’s arranged for him but he refuses. In fact, in the trailer you never really see Pitt use guns, so it looks like props and hand-to-hand is the way we’ll be seeing him in action. This is really cool, because this makes it distinct from the John Wick series, which this will inevitably be compared to. All in all, it looks like a terrific big-screen action movie, and should be a big hit when it opens this summer.
After showcasing Bullet Train, Sony showed sizzle reel footage from A Man Called Otto with Tom Hanks. This seems like a big Oscar bet from them, and the footage they showed was funny, with a befuddled, grumpy Hanks trying to learn how to use Apple Pay. We also got a tiny glimpse of the Whitney Houston biopic, footage from an intriguing World War II movie called Devotion, and sci-fi action footage from Adam Driver in 65, although too little of that was shown to really get an idea of what the movie will be like. Sony also shared a morsel of what might be footage from Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter, but we’re unsure if this was official film materials. The footage of Taylor-Johnson could have been from Bullet Train as he seems to be sporting an identical look to how he appears in that film (long hair and a moustache). The Madame Web footage also seemed to be generic, as it only just started filming.
Are you excited to see Bullet Train? Let us know in the comments!