Sunday Matinee: The Bullet Train

This might sound familiar. Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) is desperate for money and has teamed up with an activist Masaru Koga (Kei Yamamoto) and a former employee and has planted a bomb on a bullet train that will go off if the train slows down below 80 km/h.

The Bullet Train was made in 1975 and yes has a plot that “inspired” the 1994 movie Speed or as Homer Simpson called it “the bus that couldn’t slow down”.

Tetsuo demands a ransom of $5 million to be delivered in a silver suitcase. The bullet train is the Hikari 109 and is currently carrying 1,500 passengers from Tokyo to Hakata.

The driver Aoki (Sonny Chiba) is instructed not to slow down as the police try and find the bomb or those responsible. After a couple of searches no bomb is found and the passengers start getting nervous and irritated. Meanwhile the police deliver the ransom hoping to catch Tetsuo.

When the movie was originally released in the U.S. it was cut by over 40 minutes but the uncut remastered copy of the movie has just been released by Twilight Time on Blu-ray and it looks fantastic. This is a great underappreciated thriller and better than Speed.

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