Predominantly set in Japan, ‘Bullet Train’ is the cinematic adaptation of the 2010 novel ‘Maria Beetle’ (renamed ‘Bullet Train’ in its UK and US editions) by Kōtarō Isaka. The plot revolves around a group of people who find themselves traveling together on the eponymous bullet train. A few of them are assassins, and the rest are there because their circumstances have brought them. The climactic scene involves a massive action sequence that starts at a station, moves into the bullet train, and ends on the ground. If the events depicted at the end of ‘Bullet Train’ have made you wonder whether the White Death and the Prince are dead, here is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is the White Death Dead?
Portrayed by Michael Shannon, the White Death is the primary antagonist of the ‘Bullet Train. He is the head of the Yakuza and one of the most dreaded people in the world. It is revealed that his wife was killed in an assassination attempt meant for him. He subsequently gathers every person he holds responsible for her death, including their son, in the titular bullet train, hoping they will kill each other.
What the White Death hadn’t counted in is the possibility of the involvement of other people. He likely didn’t think that his daughter would make her move for his position this day of all days. He also didn’t foresee her actions would give a bitter enemy a great opportunity. The Elder used to be a loyal subordinate of the boss before the White Death. When the White Death made his move to establish himself as the head of the Yakuza, the Elder’s wife was one of the people that perished in the war.
Moreover, the White Death’s wife was actually killed by an assassin called Carver, who couldn’t come to this operation because he was on sick leave. Ladybug came instead and became part of the entire mess.
The Prince (Joey King) is revealed to be the White Death’s daughter, who intends to take this opportunity and kill her father so she can be the next leader of his criminal empire. The Prince rigs a gun with explosives, knowing that her father kills traitors with their own guns. Later in the film, after realizing who Ladybug is, the White Death tries to shoot him with the gun he took from his daughter and is killed in the resulting explosion.
Is the Prince Dead?
The Prince has inherited her father’s cunning and viciousness but feels that he has always ignored her. She decides to use her father’s desire for vengeance to plan an attack on him. The Prince even nearly succeeds, but she lets her narcissism and pride get the better of her. In the climactic sequence, following her father’s death, the Prince claims that her destiny has brought her father’s corpse to his feet. As the exhausted Ladybug, the Elder, and Yuichi look on, the Prince tries to position herself as her father’s successor. However, a tangerine truck runs over her right then, and she dies.
In the mid-credits scene, it is revealed that Lemon, the assassin who fell into a river from the train, is alive. She acquires a tangerine truck and uses it to run the Prince over. Given the role the Prince played in Tangerine’s death, this is poetic justice.