Arriving in North American theaters on August 5, Sony Pictures’ action-comedy Bullet Train features a soundtrack with uncommon music by Japanese artists. Brad Pitt stars in the film based on a Japanese novel by Kotaro Isaka.
In the movie, Pitt plays an unlucky hitman back for one more job, yet fate will take him on a rough ride from Tokyo to Kyoto on the proverbial bullet train. While the high-speed flick is aimed at Western audiences, filmmakers chose some peculiar Japanese music to suit the film’s setting.
Two English songs covered by Japanese musicians are prominent on the soundtrack from Arista Records. Opening the film is a different version of the Bee Gees classic Stayin’ Alive where the phrases are reworded and sung in Japanese! The altered disco hit is performed by Avu-Chan, vocalist of the Jrock punk band QUEEN BEE.
Later in the film, another tune is upended by its respective Japanese cover. Jpop singer Miki Asakura’s dance version of Bonnie Tyler’s thunderous 1984 rock song Holding Out for a Hero slips in during a climactic scene.
An exceptionally heavy banger from Tamio Okuda loads up on Kill Me Pretty. Okuda is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist from the Jrock ’80s band Unicorn. For the film, this track exudes moody and forboding tension setting up the dark and gritty action sequences.
Barely noticeable in the film, but also worth mentioning are classic ’60s era Jpop songs. Old school crooner Kyu Sakamoto has his big hit Sukiyaki (上を向いて歩こう) on the soundtrack, and Carmen Maki’s breezy vocals fade in for her wistful tune Tokiniha Hahano Naikonoyouni.
Additional acts on the soundtrack from around the world include Alejandro Sanz, Siiickbrain, UPSAHL, Engelbert Humperdinck, Big Fella, and Shuggie Ottis. The film’s score credits Dominic Lewis, who also composed for The King’s Man and The Man in the High Castle.
The action is explosive as Bullet Train is directed by former stunt man David Leitch, who also directed Deadpool 2. So, if you need a little escapism and like a blend of action with Tarantino-style storytelling, this may be for you. Try to listen for the music we highlighted from the soundtrack when it plays on screen.
Bullet Train is now playing in North American theaters and opens worldwide later this month.
- Stayin' Alive – Avu-chan (QUEEN BEE)
- Power (feat. Pussy Riot) – Siiickbrain
- I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles – Engelbert Humperdinck
- La Despedida – Alejandro Sanz
- My Time to Shine – UPSAHL
- Kill Me Pretty – Tamio Okuda
- Couple of Fruits – Big Fella
- Tokiniha Hahano Naikonoyouni – Carmen Maki
- Sweet Thang – Shuggie Ottis
- Five Hundred Miles – Song For Memories
- Holding Out for a Hero (Dance Version) – Miki Asakura
- Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto
- I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth
- Momomon – Dominic Lewis