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Busanhaeng

Train to Busan
New Infection: Final Express

South Korea 2016
produced by
Lee Dong-Ha, Kim Woo-taek (executive) for Next Entertainment World, RedPeter Film
directed by Yeon Sang-ho
starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Woo-sik, Sohee, Ye Soo-jung, Park Myung-shin, Choi Gwi-hwa, Jeong Seok-yong, Jang Hyuk-jin, Han Seong-soo, Woo Do-im, Moon Hye-Yeong, Kim Jae-rok, Kim Chang-hwan, Lee Joo-sil, Kim Joo-Heon, Kim Min-Seok, Kim Min-sang, Park Seong-min, Kim Hyeong-Seok, Jeon Yeong, Lee Joong-ok, Kim Yool-ho, Choi Hyeon-Joon, Jo Choon-ho, Kim Ho-Yeon, Kim Yoo-joo, Cha Jeong-hwa, Lee Yong-gon, Kim Won-jin, Han Ji-eun, Choi Min-Gyoo, Gil Bit-na, Son Ji-hoon, Lee Dong-Ha, Park Jong-Gwan, Baek In-Kwon, Kim Yoon-joo, Hong Joon-pyo, Kim Roo-han, Yoon Mi-Joong, Jang Tae-min, Nam Yeon-woo, Kim Eun-Kyeong (voice), Jeong Yeong-gi (voice), Yeon Sang-ho (voice), Lee Min-sik (voice), Joo Kwang-Hyun, Shim Eun-kyung
written by Park Joo-Suk, Yeon Sang-ho, music by Jang Young-gyu

review by
Mike Haberfelner


All Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), a fund manager way too busy for his own good, wants to do is to finally be there for his daughter Soo-an (Kim Su-an) and take her to her mother whom he's divorced from living in Busan. What he doesn't know - nor anyone else - is that the train station they're leaving from is overrun by flesh-eating zombies just as the train departs ... and one of those bitten makes it onto the train, dies on the train and turns, and starts killing others who turn - and soon enough the train has a zombie outbreak of its own on its hands ... and all who can make it onto the one waggon that doesn't hold any infected, including Seok-woo and his daughter of course, working class strongman Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mi), selfish businessman Yon-suk (Kin Eui-sung), baseball player Yong-guk (Choi Woo-sik) and his cheerleader crush Jin-hee (Sohee), and elderly sisters In-gil (Ye Soo-jung) and Jong-gil (Park Myung-shin). Somehow the zombies can be warded off - as they're pretty dumb, only react on sight and sound, and have no idea how to operate doors. But it's only human nature that with one threat contained, they turn against one another ...

Eventually, salvation seems near with the train stopping at a station where the army is supposed to take them to a safe place - but the train's passengers, running into the arms of the army, find out they've all been turned, and at best half of them make it back to the train that hastily departs. And the survivors are split in two, those lead by Yon-suk who only think about their own safety even if it means sacrificing others, and a small group consisting of Seok-woo and Soo-an, Yong-guk, Sang-hwa and Seong-kyeong, Jong-gil and a mysterious homeless man who actually care about others ... but after they heroically fight their way from a waggon in the back of the train to the safe haven that was originally their waggon, they are condemned to the luggage compartment - which actually becomes the safest palce on the train when the rest of the waggon's overrun by zombies. Then though the train has to be abandoned when another broken down train blocks the way, and is soon crashed into, something only a handful of our heroes survive - and find themselves at a trainstation overrun by zombies ...

 

For all zombie fans, Train to Busan is great fun for sure, it's really the zombie formula stripped down to its bones and then put into an interesting, even novel context, especially since the best of use is made of the slightly claustrophobic train settings. And the film's really well-executed when it comes to tension and suspense, with many an effective shock thrown into things. Even the fact that the zombies are running in this one is not much of an issue here, as they're used in a way here that makes sense narratively rather than just providing jump scares. That all said, the film's less than perfect, as some of the characters are just way too flat, and especially Seok-woo's character arc is very predictable. Plus, the survivors of the tale are easy to pick early on. But that said, it's still a very enjoyable ride!

 

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