HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
Us
mid90s
Holiday
Lovin' Molly
Manhunt in the City
Click: The Calendar Girl Killer
   
 
Newest Articles
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
   
 
  Bullet Train, The Speed Version 1.0Buy this film here.
Year: 1975
Director: Jun'ya Satô
Stars: Ken Takakura, Sonny Chiba, Kei Yamamoto, Eiji Gô, Akira Oda, Raita Ryû, Masayo Utsunomiya, Yumiko Fujita, Yumi Takigawa, Etsuko Shihomi, Fumio Watanabe, Toyoto Fukuda, Hiroko Fuji, Takashi Shimura
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Shinkansen "Bullet Train" of Japan is one of the country's most celebrated transport systems, but what if the unthinkable happened and something went wrong with the network? Safety procedures have been stringent, but the human element is not able to be completely ruled out - that being the deliberate intervention by a saboteur, such as failed businessman Tetsuo Otika (Ken Takakura). He is trying to get a ransom paid - if the authorities do not hand him over a huge amount in cash, a bomb will be set off on one of the trains...

If the seventies were about anything in the major movies, they were about worst case scenarios, and the most visible of those in the first half of the decade at least was the disaster genre. In Hollywood, the notion that this brave new world of high technology could be fatally flawed (literally) was the engine behind many of the biggest hits as the major studios had the money to spend on catastrophes which the outfits lower down the financial scale were rarely able to keep up with. However, Japanese efforts had been inflicting massive destruction on audiences for years, so by the time Bullet Train was released it did seem a little old hat.

Especially as the set up of the train with the bomb on board came across as small fry compared to what Japan had had to put up with over the course of countless fictional armageddons, and it was only the high profile nature of the setting that provided much novelty. It did have a killer concept which was implemented with some variation by a certain action phenomenon called Speed in 1994, that being the explosive device will be detonated if the vehicle its strapped to goes under a particular velocity. In the Keanu Reeves epic, that was fifty miles an hour, here the train goes off the rails if it travels below eighty kilometres an hour.

So the scene should be set for nailbiting tension, or so you would think, but considering this should have been preoccupied with objects and people moving very fast, it didn't half plod. In its original version it stretched out to a ridiculous two and a half hours, and to take it to that length there were a few subplots to contend with, the main one being the fate of Otika and how he was not someone to be feared, more a man to be pitied. In light of his placing so many passengers in peril, you might have had a spot of bother working up much sympathy for him, but the script did its best to portray him as a victim of society.

That cynicism might have come off in other methods, but here it was rather tiresome, especially as every character was drawn from stock and failed to add much of a spark, explosive or otherwise. The drama was doled out between the cops tracking Otika, the control room where the officials sweated it out, and the train itself, led by driver Sonny Chiba who conducted nervous conversations over the phone, but not much of it had the pulse pounding even if you were not sure how it would all work itself out. In the meantime, Otika's henchmen were disposed of as the net tightened around him, and this, rather than the locomotive business, offered most of the action, with car chases and so on. The main drawback was a distinct lack of personailty to the whole affair, which was a pity with that fine idea for the jumping off point for possible tension, and while effects, stunts and models were good, this was the best you could say about it.

Aka: Shinkansen daibakuha
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1776 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: