/10 17K votes
Release date: April 1, 2022
A discharged U.S. Special Forces sergeant, James Harper, risks everything for his family when he joins a private contracting organization.
Bullet Train 2022
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Fun fact: There are hundreds if not thousands of private, military background, "contractors" facilitating delivery of massive amounts of privately contracted weapons and other material into Poland for the fight against Russian aggression in Ukraine right now.
It is always a bad sign when a studio refuses to let professional critics see a film before it is released. (The two "critics reviews" here are the same site from Portugal that just note of trailer dropping and not reviews.) This film is just awful in every way. It is utterly inaccurate in how SOF works, and even more inaccurate when it comes to contractors. As usual Hollywood says what it wants to say, clearly with no advisors, nor anyone who knows the subject. Anyone saying this film is "Authentic" are obviously deeply ignorant themselves. Is Hollywood saying that many of the people who often protected Hillary, John Kerry or Tony Blinken when they were in conflict zones "mercenaries??" They were very often private contractors contracted by Dept of State. If you've watched Zero Dark Thirty, two of the guys killed (Wise and Parisi) and two of those injured in the Camp Chapman attack were contractors. Wise and Parisi are the ones who objected to the bomber passing though inner security without being searched.
My review is spoiler free, but that is an oxymoron in this case because you have seen this film's tire plot 100 times, and if you don't guess exactly where it is going in five minutes, well I would worry.
I think we all know by now that Chris Pine is one notch above Shatner in acting chops. So average at best. He is certainly weak as a lead. Ben Foster is a top shelf actor. He really accurately captured the warrior bearing and ethos in prior films, and does well here given how bad the rest of the film is.
3/10: skip it.
Fmovies: As a combat veteran, I love these movies but tend to be amused how they get the military stuff, especially operators dead wrong. This one gets it right. The Fed chews us up and spits us out. 20% of active duty are on food stamps. Desperation creates situations like this movie, tough guy for hire. Great plot. Believable action. Loved this movie! God bless our troops!
Chris Pine performs admirably for his part... Unfortunately, the story doesn't have much to say. Nothing about it is memorable. It seems like a script more suited to Stallone, Arnold, or Bruce Willis in their youth. Pine, you are too young for this mediocrity. Leave these kinds of scripts for the older guys. By the way, I hated the Steve Trevor of Wonder Woman 1984. That was worse than this.
In conclusion, I am left with the question what was the point of this film? I think younger people might like it for the gun fights.
The Contractor fmovies. Paint by numbers ex-military story, everything you can guess just from the movie poster. After the first 10 minutes it's straight forward, with all the required military jargon to add some authenticity to this.
The plot is basic, the plot twist is obvious from the beginning of the mission and the ending is expected.
I can't give away any spoilers as they are too easy to guess what happens.
Overall, very limited action scenes. Chris Pine is barely ok, he has a limp then he doesn't, then he does again. Ben Foster is his usual character as well as Keifer. Everything is as it should be.
Zero surprises and because it's so a-b-c I give it 3 stars, not enough action for the action genre, def not a thriller, mystery or drama. Maybe a Background Movie Genre to watch while you're distracted with your phone or doing house chores.
Aside from being nothing we haven't seen already tons of times and much better, even the great leads couldn't save this hollow, dull, slow, convoluted and plot-hole riddled writing and directing. Was this even edited? Who cares about the flashbacks or the daddy issues? None of that was needed, as there was already lots of other filler for the little substance there was, in the dragged out and slowly paced 103 min runtime. The entire story was cliched and predictable. I feel bad for Pine, Foster and Sutherland having this mess on their resumes. It's a 6/10 from me.
STAR RATING: ***** Brilliant **** Very Good *** Okay ** Poor * Awful
Special Forces sergeant James Harper (Chris Pine ) is involuntarily discharged from the military, suddenly ineligible for the benefits he thought he'd get. With a wife and son to support, and desperate for work, he turns to his friend, Mike (Ben Foster) who recommends some private contractor work for Rusty (Kiefer Sutherland), another disgruntled former soldier who believes the service owes him. On a routine assignment in Berlin, Harper discovers all is not as it seems, and must race against time to get to the bottom of it.
While in pre production, The Contractor was going under the working title of Violence of Action, before a last minute script rewrite was applied. So it's an interesting tidbit that it went from copying the title of a straight to DVD Steven Seagal film, to a straight to DVD Wesley Snipes one. And the end result is ultimately one as formulaic and unremarkable as one of the best from those two auteurs of the action genre, just a little glossier and finely tuned, but no less than the sum of its parts.
In spite of the banality of the story, it still seems to be aiming to be something higher, with frequent flashbacks of Harper's father when he was a kid, conditioning him to think and act like a soldier, as well as the general theme of soldiers struggling to adjust to civilian life. It's all pretty flat and humourless, shot in the dull, grey lighting that is typical of many modern films. Performances wise, Pine has a reliable presence in a tough guy role, while Sutherland applies a raging Jack Bauer like intensity as the guy in charge, but neither can lift the dull material any higher than it is.
Director Tarek Saleh helms a cookie cutter action film that is passable at best, with pretensions above its station, but without anything genuinely striking to back them up. **