Star Cast: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Re, Lee Ye-won, Kim Kyu-baek
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
What’s Good: Despite coming with a brouhaha of Train To Busan [TTB], this manages to create a distinct mark for itself in this genre
What’s Bad: Being touted as the next part, this will be compared it to TTB which isn’t totally fair. Why? Read ahead!
Loo Break: Only if you want to get bitten down there by a zombie emerging from your commode
Watch or Not?: A definite yes!
Set in a similar zombieverse designed by the director Yeon Sang-ho, this story starts with people trying to escape from virus-infected South Korea. Captain Jung-Seok (Gang Dong-won) fails in getting his entire family out of the country to Hong Kong, which leads him to a guilt-trip. Four years later, in Hong Kong, Jung-Seok receives an offer to go back to South Korea and yield US$20 million, which are lying in a food truck.
He along with a team of unknown decide to track down the cash and get it back from South Korea, which is still full of virus-infected zombies. Over there he meets a family led by Min-jung (Lee Jung-hyun) who are trying to get out of the country. Which seemed to be a not-so-difficult task at the start, becomes deadly with the life-risking obstacles they face. It’s all about how and will they be able to get back alive from there with the cash intact.
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula Movie Review: Script Analysis
Director Yeon Sang-ho teams up with first part’s writer Park Joo-Suk to pen the script for this. To address the elephant in the room, yes the ingredients used in this film aren’t the same as its predecessor but is that a bad thing? My answer would be – yes and no. No, because it doesn’t had to be same at the first place as it’s not a sequel, yes because the tag ‘Train To Busan’ burdens this one with unnecessary expectations. An advantage this one faces is the headstart it gets being the newest member in Yeon Sang-ho’s zombieverse. The story takes no time to throw the ‘wild dogs’ (a fresh term used for zombies) at you.
How it fares in mashing up the emotions with the zombie-chase? Not as intensely as Train To Busan (TTB) but they still do reasonably well. But point to note is, as its big brother, this one doesn’t let the emotions act as the catalyst. [TTB spoiler ahead] You won’t find a single scene as intense Gong Yoo’s death sequence, but there still are enough things keeping your attention intact. [TTB spoiler ends] Yeon Sang-ho doesn’t have things such as ‘the zombies can’t see in blind’ to draw a chase scene while dodging them. But, he converts that weak point into his strength by cashing in the same thing going all out on the streets. The characters now know the ‘wild dogs’ can’t see in the blinds, so they’re given flares to use it to their advantage. This leads to some wonderfully choreographed chase sequences.
This doesn’t come with the space restriction as TTB had to manage the action sequences in a redirected area of a train. Again, using this smartly, the story is diffused through an entire city, including an abandoned mall where we see zombies having an underground fight with the humans. The boundless narration also gives birth to some excellent car chasing sequences which, thanks to Lee Hyung-deok’s swift camerawork, come across as a breathtaking experience. Strangely and totally unrelated, some of the rustic car-chase episodes reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road (but Korean and at night).
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula Movie Review: Star Performance
Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or planned, but Park Joo-Suk dedicates some similar traits to Gang Dong-won’s character (Jung-seok) as TTB’s Gong Yoo (Seok-woo). He isn’t much of a speaker, he has some vices he’s carrying within, and he emerges as a hero eventually. An ingenious Gang Dong-won gives a profound twist to his character attaining the likeability he aims at.
Lee Jung-hyun’s Min-jung gets a bit overshadowed by the chaos happening around. She has a fabulous screen presence but remains under-utilised till the end. Kwon Hae-hyo as the grandfather doesn’t serve much of a purpose until the end, and he owns that one scene. Kim Min-jae as Sergeant Hwang fills in the eccentric gap of Park Joo-Suk’s set of characters, and he’s amazingly good at it.
We have Lee Re, and Lee Ye-won as Min-Jung’s street-smart daughters are written to match the emotional delight set by Kim Kyu-baek (Su-an) in TTB. Though they don’t get much say in the narration, they both provide just about enough solidarity.
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula Movie Review: Direction, Music
Full marks to Yeon Sang-ho for carrying the zombieverse ahead with this one. Despite all the monumental expectations set by TTB, he designs an entirely new world letting his wild thoughts run as wild dogs. His continuous struggle of not making this look like a ‘Walking Dead meets Dawn of The Dead’ film results into a fruitful climax.
The guy behind ‘I Saw The Devil’ Mowg designs background score for this one, and he’s fuc**ng good at it. Retaining the melancholic touch from TTB, there are enough adrenaline-pumping pieces complimenting the racy visuals.
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula Movie Review: The Last Word
I watched this with my 76-year-old grandmother, who of course doesn’t understand Korean nor can read the fast-paced subtitles and she too enjoyed it. Bottom-line is, whether or not you were able to aboard the Train To Busan, don’t miss this insane ride to Zombieland.
Three and a half stars!
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula Trailer
Train To Busan Presents Peninsula releases on 26th November 2020.
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