At first glance ‘Bullet Train’ doesn’t really seem to be a spiritual film. It looks rather like a parody of spirituality as various motivational quotes are said by professional assassins and criminals.
However, by the end of the movie we can see that there was no irony in the way this story is portrayed. Hurt people really hurt people and it just shows that we are gaining a new awareness about the toxicity of our current reality. As the main character Ladybug puts it: ‘Let this be a lesson in the toxicity of anger’. Ladybug is his new operational name given to him by his handler Maria Beetle. Ladybugs are supposed to be lucky and he believes that he has biblical bad luck.
By giving him this new name Maria is trying to change that, but unfortunately everything on this mission goes wrong and he soon states: ‘It’s bad luck on acid. I’ve got to get off this train’. However, it proves to be easier said than done. Before Ladybug boarded the train he told Maria that he had changed. He apparently had his spiritual awakening and is now a new person. ‘I am ready. You are getting the new improved me. Because if you put peace out in the world, you get peace back.’ – he says. – ‘I’m not that guy anymore’.
He is still a mercenary and an assassin though and that is what causes the audience’s amusement every time he says something like: ‘With any potential conflict, there is an opportunity for growth’. Or: ‘When we are so quick to anger, we are slow to understand’. It doesn’t make these statements less true though. In spite of his awakening, he is still a work in progress. ‘I’m sorry, I’m working on it’ he says to a lady who makes him lose his temper. He is able to recognize his triggers and change his actions from autopilot to choice. During the fight with Tangerines he asks: ‘Sure you don’t want to talk this out?’ before he continues.
He decides that when it’s all over he is going to find a temple and reevaluate his life choices. ‘Man, I just want to get off this train and see a zen garden or some shit’ – he states, because as he notes: ‘it’s a lot to process’. When Ladybug meets the Elder, he tells him: ‘Everything that’s ever happened to you, has led you here. Fate’. But Ladybug replies: ‘Fate for me is just another word for bad luck’. Yet by the end of the film he starts to wonder: ‘Maybe we are all agents of Fate?’. The White Death would probably agree with him because he believes that: ‘Nothing in life is an accident’ and ‘If you don’t control your fate, it will control you’.
When Ladybug decides that he missed his stop because God hates him, Maria replies: ‘No, she doesn’t’. Even though this film portrays women in negative light as power-hungry manipulators and punishes them by death, Maria is solely shown in a positive light. Because she is God…