Sony Pictures' Bullet Train is now playing in theaters and if you're anything like us you may have walked out of the movie with one thought on your mind: wait, what? The convoluted plot of the film features a huge ensemble cast and a web of characters that all have various ties to each other, with more than one twist in the final act that will likely have audiences wondering, huh? So if you've gotten out of Bullet Train and have a question or two, we've done our best to put the plot in its simplest terms below. Read on for Full Spoilers!
Starring Brad Pitt, the ensemble cast of Bullet Train also includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Brian Tyree Henry (Eternals, Atlanta), Joey King (The Princess, The Kissing Booth), Andrew Koji (Snake Eyes, Warrior), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, Mortal Kombat), Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Knives Out), Benito A Martínez Ocasio (musician Bad Bunny), Karen Fukuhara (The Boys), Logan Lerman (Fury, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2, Joker), and Sandra Bullock (Bird Box, Speed). Deadpool 2 and John Wick's David Leitch directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz, based on the novel by Kōtarō Isaka.
Bullet Train begins with an elaborate set-up. Andrew Koji's The Father is introduced and he has a problem, someone lured his son up to a roof and pushed him off. Hiroyuki Sanada appears, revealed to be The Elder aka The Father's father, who is eager to get revenge. Koji's hunt for the killer leads him to, where else, The Bullet Train.prevnext
Brad Pitt's character is revealed to be a last minute replacement on this job, a simple snatch and grab where he's hired to steal a case on the bullet train. He'll know the case because it has a train sticker on the handle.prevnext
Lemon and Tangerine
The two "twins" are hired to extract and return the son of the White Death (leader of Japan's underworld) and bring him home along with the ransom money his father handed over for him. That ransom money is being held in a case with a train sticker on the handle.prevnext
The Father confronts the person responsible for his son's condition, finding none other than Joey King's The Prince. It becomes clear throughout the movie that The Prince did this to The Father's son as a means of getting him on the bullet train, using him as a way to kill The White Death. To do this she booby traps both his gun and the briefcase that Ladybug stashed away. Knowing that the White Death likes to use people's own weapons to kill them she plans for both of these to potentially be used to kill the White Death.prevnext
Bad Bunny's assassin character is revealed to be out for revenge, arriving on the bullet train to kill the person responsible for killing his wife and his entire family on his wedding day. He thinks the person he's after, an assassin that uses poison known as The Hornet, is Brad Pitt and fights him only to accidentally die thanks to the briefcase.prevnext
The White Death's son, Logan Lerman, mysteriously dies on the train, putting Lemon and Tangerine in trouble and running back and fourth through the train cars to figure out who might be targeting them. The Son's death occurs after blood pours from his eyes, the same way that The Wolf's family and bride were killed.prevnext
Zazie Beatz Hornet is revealed to be the one behind the death of The Son, attempting later to kill Ladybug so they can get the briefcase (their promised payment).prevnext
The White Death
Central to the entire plot is the mysterious White Death, the leader of the Japanese underground who took over after executing the other crime lord (including The Elder's wife/The Father's mother) and assuming the top spot. Throughout the film it's revealed that The White Death has been mourning the death of his wife for some time, leading to the events of the film. It's revealed he plotted for most of the occupants of the train to be present for one reason, to get revenge on the persons responsible for killing her.prevnext
White Death's Wife, and how
- Lemon and Tangerine make reference to "The Bolivian Job" throughout the film, revealed to have been a major attack on some of The White Death's operation.
- As a result of "The Bolivian Job," the White Death leaves town. While gone his wife is forced to bail The Son out of jail.
- On her way to pick up the son she's killed in an attack by the assassin The White Death believes to be Ladybug.
- While she's in surgery, the only person that could potentially save her life is killed by The Hornet (who has also killed The Wolf's wife and his family)
- By creating a web of people that are tied to the death of his wife, and promising them all either revenge or the same case of money The White Death believes he's created a scenario where all of them would eliminate each other on the bullet train.
There's one problem though.prevnext
Ladybug was a replacement
Recall that Ladybug was a last minute replacement on the job. The film reveals that he took the job over an operative named Carver, who called out sick. Not only is the Carver confirmed to be the assassin that actually killed The White Death's wife, he's also played by Ryan Reynolds in a 2-second cameo. So Ladybug being on the train wasn't in the cards at all for The White Death.prevnext
The Prince's Twist
When The White Death finally arrives on board it's revealed that The Prince is actually his daughter, and she resents him for loving her brother/The Son more than her; thus her plan to kill The White Death was all a personal grievance and not a hired job. Though not a part of the group assembled on the train for her father's plan, she's aware that her dad will appear at the end of the line and that the case of money belongs to him.prevnext
Fate and Luck
Bullet Train walks a fine line between letting its characters have good luck & bad luck, and chalking things up to fate. In a way it brings the whole thing together as the surviving people who The White Death assembled on a train to kill each other end up forming a bond to survive and defeat him. In the end, after much bloodshed and wacky action, Ladybug, Lemon, The Father, and The Elder all find a way to survive the attack but also make sure that The White Death meets his end before walking away.prevnext
So most of the characters on the bullet train were there because the White Death assumed they would kill each other, and while that did kind of happen, not everyone died. He also didn't account for his daughter to also be present, or that Brad Pitt wouldn't actually be the person he thought he was. In the end there's a handful of survivors but mostly a lot of dead bodies and a bullet train that crashes into a town.prev