24 September 2020

K Movie Review: Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan was a huge hit a few years back. But Oppa and I are not really into horror films so we didn't see any reason to watch it. The past few months, however, we've been hooked to Summer Vacation with Choi Woo Shik and Jung Yu Mi. We found out that their common denominator was Train to Busan. Then one of their guests was another cast member, Ahn Sohee of Kpop girl group Wonder Girls. And I read recently that the film would only be available on Netflix until this month. Since we're in between dramas and while waiting for the new episode of Record of Youth, we finally decided to watch Train to Busan.
 
Story
 
Train to Busan.jpg
 
Train to Busan is about a zombie invasion in South Korea. Zombies cropped up and began attacking everyone. Nobody could explain what was happening. Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) was on a train from Seoul heading to Busan with his daughter Su An (Kim Su An). Unfortunately, one zombie made it to the train and she began biting other passengers. Only a handful were not bitten, including Seok Woo, Su An, pregnant Seong Kyeong (Yu Mi) and her husband Sang Hwa (Ma Dong Seok), high school baseball player Yong Guk (Woo Shik) and his cheerleader friend Jin Hee (Sohee), among others. The safe ones were supposed to get off in one city but there was a zombie invasion there as well so they had no choice but to get back on the train and head to Busan. After numerous battles with zombies, they all get bitten one by one. In the end, only Seong Kyeong and Su An made it to Busan safely. Fortunately, Busan was able to successfully defend itself against the zombies. 
 
 Technically, the film was great. The graphics were really good. For someone who's used to watching tacky graphics from Philippine horror movies and shows, it was refreshing to see an Asian film come up with something like this. The zombies really looked like zombies. 
 
The story, despite its flaws, was surprisingly engaging. We watched it late at night and we would have fallen asleep if it were not entertaining enough. But the film kept us awake. The chase and attack scenes were good, without being over the top or lousy. 
 
There were a couple of scenes where we felt the characters were moving too slow, thereby jeopardizing their chances of survival, like that scene where Sang Hwa had to sacrifice his life to save the others. 
 
It was also weird that the news reports were all talking about riots and protests when it was obvious that these were not protesters. Unless protesters who bite other people who in turn bite others are commonplace in Korea? A better term could probably be an unexplained occurrence? I also found it odd that they called those bitten as people who have been infected, as if being a zombie can be likened to getting some disease. 
 
I was also wondering about the corpses Su An and Seong Kyeong saw prior to entering that final tunnel heading to Busan. They appear to have been attacked by zombies from the way they looked but they appeared dead too. How did that happen? Why were the other zombies they encountered prior to that running around but these zombies were resting peacefully? 
 
My key take away from this movie was how zombies behave. They get disoriented when it's dark so you can just cover their faces with jackets or cover the window with newspapers. They're also attracted to sounds so if you want them to go somewhere, create a sound in that direction. And they don't sing (because the Busan soldiers were about to shoot Seong Kyeong and Su An but when they heard the girl singing, they declared them as survivors). 
 
 
It was great that almost everyone was willing to sacrifice their lives so the rest could be saved. Even Seok Woo who initially told Su An to just think about herself and not anyone else, ended up sacrificing his life to help his daughter and Seong Kyeong survive. But the man above, Yon Suk (Kim Eui Sung) was utterly despicable. He pushed a lot of people to zombies just so he can survive. He was the most selfish of all and I was genuinely happy when he was finally attacked by a zombie. 
Gwi-hwa Choi | Cinemorgue Wiki | Fandom
 Most of the actors were good. I'm thinking if we should watch Coffee Prince because of Gong Yoo. But the best actor for me would probably be Choi Gwi Hwa, the homeless guy who was among the initial survivors. You would not guess that he played a glamorous lawyer in Suits and an evil policeman in A Taxi Driver. His transformation was amazing. 
 
Woo Shik and Sohee were not that great but they were probably still newbies at that time. And Woo Shik improved tremendously from this film to his performance in Parasite
 
 
Over all, Train to Busan was entertaining. Definitely not a typical cheap and tacky horror film. 
 
Oppa says...4.
Noona says...4. 

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