Aaron Taylor-Johnson Already Proved He Can Be the Next Bond in This Action Comedy

The debate over which actor will be cast as the next James Bond is always one of the most contentious discussions among film fans. While the response to Daniel Craig’s performance as a much darker version of Ian Fleming’s classic character was almost uniformly positive, rumors about his replacement have emerged since the ending of No Time To Die made it clear that “James Bond will return” very soon.

Although many great actors nearly earned the role, producer Barbara Broccoli notoriously does not take the decision lightly considering the franchise’s incredible legacy. While no official information has been confirmed as of yet, new rumors seem to indicate that Aaron Taylor-Johnson is in line to take the role. While he was the star of such memorable franchise films as Kick-Ass, Godzilla, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Taylor-Johnson’s performance in the action comedy Bullet Train proves that he has what it takes to be the next 007.

bullet-train-poster

Bullet Train

Thriller

Action

Comedy

610

Release Date

August 5, 2022

Director

David Leitch

Cast

Brad Pitt , Joey King , Aaron Taylor-Johnson , Brian Tyree Henry

Runtime

2 hr 6 min

Main Genre

Thriller

What Is ‘Bullet Train’ About?

Based on the novel by author Kōtarō Isaka, Bullet Train is an international action thriller that pits various criminals, assassins, gangsters, and warriors against each other on a bullet train aimed at hitting Tokyo by the time the night concludes. Although the assassin known as “Ladybug” (Brad Pitt) is cagey about undertaking the dangerous mission, he reluctantly agrees to deliver a mysterious briefcase. Ladybug’s endeavor is thwarted when he encounters The Son (Logan Lerman) of a powerful Russian crime lord known as “The White Death” (Michael Shannon). Taylor-Johnson co-stars as the assassin Tangerine, who is entrusted with protecting The Son. Alongside his partner and brother Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), Tangerine must ensure that the train ride doesn’t become a bloodbath.

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The unexpected death of The Son sparks a madcap series of action scenes, with various characters trying to betray and outdo one another. Between the manipulative young assassin The Prince (Joey King), the yakuza Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji) and his father The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), a hitman known as The Wolf (Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio), and the poison expert known as The Hornet (Zazie Beetz), Bullet Train is certainly packed with a memorable cast of characters. Taylor-Johnson proved that he could emerge as the most interesting character within a packed ensemble, which is necessary should he ever step into Bond’s shoes.

David Leitch's Bullet Train proved that Taylor-Johnson was skilled in multiple forms of combat, as he utilizes his martial arts skills, mastery of firearms, and even a few random objects in the train to take out his opponents. Bond is one of the most adaptable action heroes, as if he can seemingly turn anything into a weapon. This is a trait that Tangerine certainly embodies in Bullet Train, and Taylor-Johnson perfectly conveys his expertise and experience in a fun way.

Aaron-Taylor Johnson Is a Scene-Stealer in ‘Bullet Train'

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The James Bond franchise is known for many things, one of which is humor. While not every 007 adventure is necessarily as silly as the films within Roger Moore’s run as the character, even Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan added a subtle sense of cheeky humor to their films. Taylor-Johnson does a great of adding just the right amount of comedy to Bullet Train, making sure that the film never turns into a parody of an action film. The stakes are real, but Tangerine can’t help but have a bemused attitude about how unlucky his mission seems to be. His irritation that a seemingly “easy job” has gone awry seems very reflective of how Bond would react in a similar situation.

The Bond films frequently highlight the relationships that 007 has with his allies. The Daniel Craig era of the series in particular did a great job of propping up supporting characters like M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). Taylor-Johnson and Henry have excellent chemistry in Bullet Train, as the two characters have an established working relationship and know each other’s attributes very well. While a running gag about Lemon comparing events to characters from Thomas the Tank Engine could have been distracting, the hilarious conversations between Henry and Taylor-Johnson help make the world of Bullet Train feel more lived-in.

Although he’s often cited as one of the greatest film heroes of all-time, Bond is a character with a somewhat checkered sense of ethics. He’s ultimately a cold-blooded assassin who harbors some very sexist opinions about women. Despite the inherent charisma that he brings in his best performances, Taylor-Johnson proved that he could play darker characters in Bullet Train. Tangerine is ultimately an assassin whose only loyalty is to his employer, and while he has a strong personal affection for Lemon, he does seem to take some sick pleasure in defeating his enemies.

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson Could Take the Bond Franchise in a New Direction

Although the series has had its ups and downs, the Bond franchise is in need of a complete reimagining in order to pave a successful future for itself. Simply reiterating what Craig did would not be a good idea, as the series must reinvent itself in order to appeal to a younger generation. Taylor-Johnson’s relative youth suggests that he would have time to grow into the role over the course of multiple installments, and Bullet Train indicates that he’s willing to put in the work.

There are shades of every previous Bond in Taylor-Johnson’s Bullet Train performance. He manages to capture Connery’s rugged charisma, Moore’s hapless comic timing, Brosnan’s romanticism, Dalton’s violent temper, and Craig’s brooding darkness. Should his casting be confirmed, Taylor-Johnson may be able to spin the franchise in a new direction whilst also adding his personal touches to the character.

Bullet Train is available to watch on Netflix in the U.S.

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