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Train to Busan - Well Go USA Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Richard Taylor   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
Review of Train to Busan from Well Go USA on Severed Cinema


AKA: Busanhaeng, Invasión Zombie, Invasão Zumbi, Estación Zombie, Dernier train pour Busan, Shin Kansen: Final Express, Estación Zombie: tren a Busan, Ostatni pociag, Zombie express, Voz za Busan, Поезд в Пусан, Последний экспресс, Chuyen tau sinh tu

Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Written by: Park Joo-suk
Produced by: Lee Dong-ha
Cinematography by: Hyung Deok Lee
Music by: Jang Young-gyu
Special Effects by: Jung Hwang-su
Cast: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jung, Dong-seok Ma, Woo-sik Choi, Sohee, Eui-sung Kim
Year: 2016
Country: Korea
Language: Korean (English Subtitles)
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 58min

Studio: Red Peter Film, Next Entertainment World
Distributor: Well Go USA

The zombie film market has been oversaturated in the extreme sense. They have no longer become icons of fear in which George A. Romero created years ago. The shambling corpses walking and moaning in slow motion, or the updated ones fit to run marathons have all become clichéd symbols of horror. We even have romance zombie films and comedies, so when this happens you know the end is nigh. The success of The Walking Dead has firmly planted zombies in the forefront but what the show has successfully done is create human characters or survivors whom the audience care for. To develop such a thing is a new element in the genre, and with Train to Busan the Korean film market has successfully used this angle with a few creative spins to make this quite possibly one of the best modern zombie films of the year.

Train to Busan is Korean with English subtitles and unfortunately this will scare a lot of people off. Personally, I have been a diehard foreign horror film fan for most of my life, and would take subtitles over a cheesy dub job any day. It’s a shame that mainstream audiences would shy away from the film for such a foolish reason, but in this modern age of ignorance, little surprises me. The movie had the ability to prevent me from going to get a drink or getting up to use the bathroom, even though I could have easily paused it -- yes it’s that good.

The film focuses on businessman Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) and his cold demeanor towards everything in life outside of work, including his young daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim). Seok Woo has neglected his daughter. Now on her birthday he has promised her a trip to see her mother whom Seok Woo has separated from, now residing in Busan. The two take the train from Seoul to Busan but we get little hints as to the bizarre events unfolding. Even from the opening scenes of the film, everything slowly builds up until it lets loose on the train.

I think where Train to Busan excels is in taking some good old fashioned elements of zombie films past. Emphasizing them in such a way that these clichés are so underused in the more modern zombie entries now, that they are no longer clichés. It also uses a simple formula that works in any movie and has since the dawn of filmmaking. That formula is introducing a bunch of quirky characters and having them interact in such a way with each other that their personalities shine. We get to see who they really are once the shit hits the fan. The movies life blood relies on emotion and interaction of characters put in desperate situations. I love how Train to Busan fools the audience in thinking a character is something, and then turning the tables on you. When the infected attack, a character morphs and turns into someone else, some good, some bad. This is the art that is Train to Busan and it surpassed all my expectations.

The infected look convincing and the special effects and features of the moving corpses are almost morbidly ballet-like. They are definitely the new age speedster hot rodding zombies we know from such films as 28 Days Later, the Dawn of the Dead remake, or Umberto Lenzi's classic Nightmare City (aka City of the Walking Dead ). Train to Busan has taken home a number of awards from different festivals from all over the world and rightfully so. Train to Busan is an accomplished, entertaining and masterfully weaved work of suspense, emotion and terror.

Lead actor, Yoo Gong as Seok Wook has an amazing transformation. His performance is as emotionally charged as any actor in any zombie or non-zombie drama. Soo-an Kim as Seok Wook's young daughter plays an amazing role as the one keeping her father’s morals in check. She gives a heart-warming and innocent performance. The show stealing supporting role goes to Dong -seok Ma who has the lovable, pig-headed and rough character of Sang Hwa, whose performance is as emotionally charged, brave and touching as it is comedic. No classic film would be complete without a human villain and in this one the crown is worn by Eui-sung Kim as Yong-suk, a character whose desperation to survive outweighs his compassion for his fellow man.

One of the best films of 2016, Train to Busan is a must see. It’s filled with nail-biting suspense and so much character development and emotion it wins hands down. The budget and the location of the train setting is used to perfection, and yes there are some moments of implausibility on behalf of how and what the zombies can do in certain scenes, but this is minor stuff. You will overlook this since you are wrapped up in the story. I recommend Train to Busan to anyone as a solid standalone film. Don't pigeonhole it as just a zombie movie because it’s much more than that, it does more than transcend the genre, it smashes through it.





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