Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Bullet Train
Bullet Train, from director David Leitch, continues a fun filmmaking trend from the director’s previous efforts. Bullet Train is similar to Leitch’s earlier projects in several ways, from the quick, witty dialogue to high-octane, very well-choreographed action. One similarity though stands out from the rest and is something that Leitch in particular amongst working Hollywood directors likes to include in his films, doing almost nothing other than considerably upping the fun factor of his movies.
Bullet Train is an action-comedy film that is set aboard the titular vehicle as it travels through Japan. Onboard is a myriad of vibrant, eccentric assassins who discover that their individual assignments might not be so separate after all. This story setup allows for a talented ensemble of A-list actors, with stars like Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, and Hiroyuki Sanada all featuring in Bullet Train to name a few. However, it is outside the core cast of characters and actors that Leitch’s filmmaking trend is found.
This trend is Leitch’s fun tendency to load his films with popular, A-list actors in cameo roles. Whether these roles be multiple-scene appearances or singular one-off scenes, Leitch has found a filmmaking trend that simply makes his films more fun. That trend continues with Bullet Train, with the film featuring two extremely fun cameos from uncredited, popular actors Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum. Reynolds’ cameo is a short, unspoken scene in which he appears as Carver, the assassin who Brad Pitt’s character is replacing in the main role. In a film like Bullet Train, full of easter eggs and references, this scene was expected, as was the other cameo sequence featuring Channing Tatum as an innocent bystander aboard the train. It is the way in which these cameos connect to Leitch’s other films that makes them all the more fun, and solidifies them as a trend common to Leitch in modern Hollywood.
How Bullet Trains Cameos Link To Leitch’s Other Films
Outside of Bullet Train, David Leitch has directed five films. His first was a co-directorial effort with Chad Stahelski on John Wick. Since then, Leitch has directed films like Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and now Bullet Train. It is the latter three films that contain links to one another through their cameo appearances. Beginning with Deadpool 2’s cameos, the main star of Bullet Train, Brad Pitt, features in a brief cameo as Vanisher in Deadpool’s X-Force team. Vanisher is invisible for the most part, before skydiving into electrical lines and being revealed as Pitt himself. Pitt was initially in the running to play Cable in the film before the role went to Josh Brolin. Reynolds and Leitch then decided to have Pitt in this cameo role as a fun treat for audiences.
This cameo links to Bullet Train, with Leitch going on to hire Pitt to play the main character Ladybug in the film. The Deadpool 2 links don’t stop there though. Ryan Reynolds’ cameo in Bullet Train likely comes from the relationship formed between him and Leitch on Deadpool 2, with the actor opting to appear in a surprise scene that, while short, actually kickstarts the entire plot of Bullet Train. Reynolds also had a cameo in Leitch’s Hobbs & Shaw, with the duo obviously having a very good working relationship to keep collaborating, albeit in some short cameo roles such as these. Zazie Beetz also has a small role in Bullet Train that, while she is credited, serves more as a cameo due to the one scene she appears and the surprising nature of her reveal. This also links to Deadpool 2 with Beetz appearing as Domino in the 2018 film.
While Tatum doesn’t link to Leitch directly, his connections with Reynolds after a similar cameo in Free Guy, and Sandra Bullock in The Lost City explain his appearance. Should Bullet Train 2 happen, it will likely include a similar level of cameos should the film be helmed by Leitch. Regardless, it is no secret that whatever David Leitch directs next will feature cameos from Hollywood actors in the vein of Bullet Train and Leitch’s previous works.