16 August 2004 | jmaruyama
Predates "Speed" and Is The Much Better Drama...
`Bullet Train' (Orig. Title: Shinkansen Daibakuha) is a gripping thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Made in 1975, `Bullet Train' predates Jan De Bont's similar `Speed' by almost two decades and is the vastly superior drama. The wonderful Ken Takakura portrays the bomber with a grudge, while cult action star Shinichi `Sonny' Chiba portrays Shinkansen (Bullet Train) operator Aoki who must find the explosive device before his train explodes. Utsui Ken (who portrayed the serial hero Super Giant/Star Man) also puts in a great performance as Transit Chief Kuromochi who must not only deal with the demands of the bomber but must also deal with the political and public backlash and hysteria that ensues the crisis. While some of the SFX work does not really look all too convincing, the overall film is a joy to see. Ken Takakura's somber and tragic character of Okita is quite a contrast to Dennis Hopper's wacky and cartoonish villain in `Speed". While the film is not great, it certainly is worth a look. Blink and you could miss the cameo of Shihomi Etsuko as a transit telephone operator.