MOVIE REVIEW: “Train to Busan” stars Yoo Gong (Guardian: The Lonely and the Great God, Finding Mr. Destiny), Yu-mi Jung (Our Sunhi, A Bittersweet Life), Dong-seok Ma (The Eternals, The Gangster the Cop and the Devil), Su-an Kim (The Battleship Island, Memories of the Sword), Eui-sung Kim (W, 2036 Apocalypse Earth), Woo-sik Choi (Parasite, Okja), Sohee (A Single Rider, Bakugan: Battle Force ), Soo-jung Ye (The Thieves, Teo-neol), Myung-shin Park (Old Boy, Mother ), Gwi-Hwa Choi (A Taxi Driver, The Wailing), and Seok-yong Jeong (The City of Violence, The King and the Clown). It is directed by Sang-ho Yeon (The King of Pigs, The Fake), who also wrote it with Joo-Suk Park (Hwayi: A Monster Boy, Peninsula). A group of people must survive a zombie outbreak while on a train heading to Busan, a safe haven.
Have you heard of “Train to Busan”? Because I sure hadn’t, until one night my friends queued it up on Netflix after we got back from a wedding. Talk about a way to top off the night. Zombies, trains, and family. What more could you want? Being that I had no idea what this film was before watching it, you’d imagine my reaction to seeing that this story centered around a zombie outbreak; my impression was that the train going to Busan was going to get hijacked by some robbers or something. Boy, was I way off. And the zombies? They were gruesome. Think “World War Z,” but without the heavy use of CGI to turn the infected into a wave-like mass. If only Brad Pitt were here to save the day… Instead, we have Yoo Gong and Dong-seok Ma, who both star as family men looking to protect their loved ones. One is a businessman focused on work, and the other is a brute force to be wrecked with (he teaches Gong a thing or two on being a better person). For being a zombie flick, I was surprised at how solid the story was. The pacing was smooth, with characters you can buy into. Typically with these features, you buy the ticket to see the action. Everything else is secondary. However, in “Train to Busan” you get character development that works, with relationships that build toward satisfying climaxes (for the most part). There was hardly a dull moment. The action popped, the effects were awesome, the performances did the job (as someone who doesn’t speak Korean, it’s tough to say if the line delivery was natural, but the emotions seemed to hit the mark), and the characters were easy to invest in. I believe we started watching this movie close to eleven o’clock at night, and while that may not be that late to some of you youngings (or insomniacs), I would’ve easily passed out if this film wasn’t as interesting as it was. I enjoyed it, and it is certainly a fun flick to watch with a group of people. Of course, the conclusion seemed a bit predictable (and very reminiscent of another post-apocalyptic train movie, “Snowpiercer”), but I don’t hold it against the filmmakers. All the necessary beats that come with a redemption story like this were hit with ease, creating a smooth viewing experience that could warrant a rewatch. It isn’t groundbreaking, nor does it try to be. The filmmakers seem to know its place as a B-movie, and it does a stellar job in that area. Honestly, if you were to replace the actors with Americans, it would fit perfectly in the box office line-up we have in the States. Sang-ho Yeon did a good job structuring this tale, going above and beyond what normal fear-factor filmmakers would accomplish. If you’re interested in post-apocalyptic films, you’ll definitely get a kick out of this one. And if you are like me who would love a little taste of something extra (perhaps strong characters and drama), you’ll find that here too. “Train to Busan” is a fun underdog flick that will surely entertain audiences with its action and characters. Next time you’re on Netflix, give it a watch. FINAL SCORE: 87%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: