Twilight Time Blu-ray: The Bullet Train (1975)

The Bullet Train (1975)

Company: Twilight Time

Starring:  Shinichi Chiba, Kei Yamamoto, Raita Ryu, Tetsuro Tamba, Ken Utsui, Ken Takakura, Akira Oda

My Review and Thoughts:

My Rating: 4 out of 5

I absolutely love this movie. I think it’s a great action classic. I have seen this many times. Pure adrenaline inducing fun. Now seeing it for the first time on a beautiful amazing Blu-ray is perfection in all its wonders. Twilight Time has done an amazing job in transfer and in bringing this awesome film to Blu-ray. Also, what I love about this release is it’s the complete version. When it was released in America it was cut down to 115 minutes. The complete version is 152 minutes which you get here on this awesome Blu-ray. Now I must mention that this Blu-ray is only in Region A format, so it won’t work on all devices, you must check if your device if it plays Region A.

Starring one of the greatest icons of acting, action and bad ass persona. The one and only Sonny Chiba. A true master of martial arts cinema. Starring in so many Cult style films. A pure action packed persona that gave the cinema public and true movie fan, a vast array of cinema that stands out, and creates lasting impressions upon the viewer. To me it will always be his Street Fighter saga that I will praise him for. I grew up watching Saturday Matinees at the cinema or Saturday Late night TV marathons, and The Street Fighter saga was often shown back to back, many times, and I was always there. He has been a part of so many Cult following films, and the appreciation from fans has always grown over the years. 

Director Quentin Tarantino honored the man by using him in his amazing double feature Kill Bill Saga. He is just a brilliant performer that is a persona that film geeks, film lovers know of. It’s great seeing him again in this awesome film.

Now stepping aside in honoring a great cult style actor like Sonny Chiba, I must mention the one and only, masterly performer that is Ken Takakura. He stars as the character Tetsuo Okita in The Bullet Train. Takakura is what you can consider a master talented actor. He is one of those performers that should always be remembered for his amazing talent. Like Sonny I grew up watching his amazing ability to own and perform a brilliant reality in a cast of characters. Sadly, he is no longer with us, dying in 2014, but he left a career of cinema importance. He won Four Japanese Academy of Prize Awards which is equivalent to our Academy Award Oscars. His mastery is grand. Many of his films are true cinematic moments that should be remembered. Three of my favorite performances he acted in was 1978’s The Yellow Handkerchief, 1981’s A Distant Cry from Spring and 1982’s Station. I could go on and on mentioning acting performances but I just love talking about this man. 

His talent is something to praise. Sadly, many in America don’t know who he is, and that’s a true shame because his talent is award worthy, and wonderment of praise, and honor. Acting in well over 150 performances. Starred in both his native Japanese and here in America. From the 1989 classic Black Rain to the comedy 1992’s Mr. Baseball.

The Bullet Train is directed by Junyo Sato. Sato started directing films in 1963. The start of his film making career was creating films involved with the subject of The Yakuza as the plot. To me it is this film, The Bullet Train that defines his reality. He directed and created so many High budget action flicks and The Bullet Train is one of those that stand out and gives the viewer everything they need to be thoroughly entertained and held to the last shot. Also, the greats like The Private Police, The Drifting Avenger, Organized Violence, Gang vs. Gang The Red and Black Blues and I could go on and on. Looking at his ability to direct many styles one needs to look at his film 1988’s The Silk Road. This historical drama is an amazing film and showcases just who and how important he is, as a director and visionary in the realm of film making. The Silk Road was awarded with the Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize, which is like our Academy Awards. I love The Silk Road. It’s a film I highly recommend and is a film that should be seen by film buffs and cinema lovers.

Also, I must mention two actors that you should keep an eye out for in The Bullet Train. This has one of the best, finest actors of the 20th Century. He is what one can consider a masterpiece performer that brings the beauty and amazement that is cinema. To say he is just an actor is a slap in the face to the art form and mastery creation of what true acting is about. If one performer can be pin pointed to showcases all acting in one person, it would be Takashi Shimura. All one must do is mention his films that he starred in. The masterpieces: 1954’s Seven Samurai, 1952’s Ikiru, 1950’s Rashomon, 1957’s Throne of Blood, 1958’s The Hidden Fortress, 1964’s Kwaidan. I should not need to go on, although I could mention over and over the mastery that is Shimura. Well over 240 performances to his name. His long and lustrous career is a true focal point of what great acting is about. Started acting in 1936 and did so until 1981, sadly passing the next year. Personally, to me I will always praise him because he was a pivotal part of my childhood. Growing up watching many wonderful Cult Classic late night pieces of B-grade cinema. Some of those is the wonderful Godzilla films. He was in the original 1954 Godzilla and in the cut up American version in 1956. He also starred in many other Cult following films such as 1957’s The Mysterians, 1961’s Mothra, 1963’s Attack Squadron, and he starred in one of my personal favorites of this style of film, 1965’s Frankenstein Conquers the World. He starred in Award worthy films and lower budget wonderments of entertainment. He was a master of acting. He was what I consider a pivotal actor in cinema history that should always be remembered, and it was amazing seeing him in this film all over again. 

Also, I must mention keep an eye out for actor Tetsuro Tanba. He was another gifted actor and a producer and writer of film. He to starred in award worthy films all the way to cult classic lower budget films. His mastery is one to always remember. He too is no longer with us. Passing in 2006. He left an amazing career of cinema from 1962’s Harakiri, 1974’s The Castle of Sand. Starring in well over an amazing 270 performances. Unbelievable reality. He too is a pivotal part of the history of acting and should always be expressed in the realm of cinema love. It was great seeing and pin pointing him again in The Bullet Train.

The plot is simple and yet it’s one of the first to use this plot. Later, you can see countless other films that used this plot in the 80’s and 90’s and even today. So, there is a train, there is a bomb on that train. If the train slows below 80 miles an hour the bomb will go off. Hint the reality of the movie Speed, bomb on a bus, lower speed goes boom boom. Any who, police race against time to stop the bombers and try to defuse the boom boom to save the day.

Twilight Time did it again is capturing a perfect film for a high-quality Blu-ray. It’s a Blu-ray of pristine undertaking and that is way it’s a must own experience. Twilight Time never lets the viewer down and always expresses the beauty of how to bring an older film out on a wonderful new outlet.


My Rating: 5 out of 5

Wonderful audio and video. Amazingly in it’s original tongue with English subtitles. Always watch a film in its originally language. A movie is never the same watching it dubbed. Thankfully Twilight Time has given the original language to enjoy the solid original reality of this film. The original audio is spot on along with the subtitles. The video is vibrant. The imagery is crisp and perfect for the viewer.

LANGUAGE: Japanese
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: Japanese 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1975 / Color


My Rating: 2 out of 5

Isolated Music & Effects Track: The music is done by composer Hachiro Aoyama who was a very talented composer in the film world in the 70’s and early 80’s. Working on about 16 films. I really can’t find much about him, so this write up on him is going to be short. The music is amazing, and always wonderful hearing the isolated music in its own special feature.  

Big Movie, Big Panic: Junya Sato on The Bullet Train. This has a runtime of close to 25 minutes. The director talks about the production, cast and moments in the film. A great watch. It is in Japanese with English subtitles. What is really cool about this interview is Sato talks about films that gave inspiration for The Bullet Train such as American disaster films like The Towering Inferno and Earthquake.

You also get the all important Booklet insert written by the wonderful Julie Kirgo. A great write up on the film. These booklet's are priceless. 


Another fine example of a high-quality transfer. A beautiful undertaking by Twilight Time to express yet another forgotten about film on a new outlet that is worthy to praise. You get a few extras, and an awesome way to spend 152 minutes. High quality Blu-ray that is a must own. Only 3,000 Units are produced so do yourself a favor and get one. Priceless.


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