Thursday, 24 May 2018

Train to Busan (2016)

TV shows, movies, comic books, video games, songs, they all have been infected by zombies which is great if you ask me since I love zombies. The problem is that cinema is saturated with these monsters and very often movies involving them are a let down which is why I avoid most of them. Train to Busan (Korean: 부산행 Busanhaeng) though has been on my watchlist for quite some time as I've heard great things about it --also, it's South Korean and they know a few things when it comes to making horror movies. 

Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), a divorced man who is always busy with work and has no time to spend with daughter Soo-an (Kim Su-an), offers to ride with her on the train (the daughter wanted to go by herself) to see her mother in Busan. But as soon as the train departs, a zombie outbreak happens and Sok-woo, with the help of another passenger, Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok), tries to isolate the safe front cars from the infected ones. 

Plot-wise, there isn't much new here. It's the typical and very simple zombie outbreak plot with people struggling and fighting for their survival --which is great as a more complex story could have been harder to follow because of the subtitles-- but it's engaging and compelling from start to finish. 

One of the reasons for that is the film's characters. Though they too are your typical zombie flick characters --there's the anti-hero, the brave guy, the coward, the young lovers, and so on-- they aren't one-dimensional as they usually are in these movies. It looks like they are at first but, as the plot moves forward and they start to interact with each other, we see their personalities and their growth, and it's impossible not to become emotionally invested and root for them. 

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The writer, Park Joo-suk, however, is not the only one who deserves the credits for that. Most of them go to the great cast. Gong Yoo is a very likeable and charismatic lead and effectively delivers the development of his character, a selfish, uncaring businessman who turns into the hero we all root for. Kim Su-an is very young --only 10-- but that doesn't prevent her from giving a great performance and being the emotional/dramatic core of the film. Ma Dong-seok too is charismatic as Sang-hwa, a devoted husband who is always on the front line to help the others. He also adds a little comedy to the film. Also worthy of a mention is Kim Eui-sung who plays a selfish man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. 

Another aspect to love about Train to Busan is the action. It's executed very well, so well-choreographed and exciting. And let's not forget about the zombies. They aren't the slow, retarded kind, but very fast and very aggressive flesh-eater, like those from 28 Days Later

I had somewhat of a deja-vù feeling while watching Train to Busan though. At times, it feels like watching Snowpiercer. Not only both movies are set on a train, but both movies use cars to represent levels of the hierarchy of our society. Is that a bad thing? No, because both movies handle it well. 

6 comments :

  1. This is one of my all time favorite zombie movies now. Having seen so many in the genre, this one really stood out.

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    1. I haven't seen many but this is one of the best I've seen.

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this but I am sick of zombie movies and will probably not see this one

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe, who knows, you'll change your mind in the future.

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  3. I've heard awesome things about this film. I really want to see this.

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    1. I hope you do get to see it and enjoy it.

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