Train to Busan,
directed by Sang-ho Yeon
(Next Entertainment World, 2016)

Visceral, nail-biting and surreally good, Train to Busan is a fast-paced movie, in every sense. In the vein of 28 Days and 28 Days Later, Busan is action-packed from the moment the first zombie is encountered.

The dead are rising and biting people, spreading panic and infection in equal amounts. Divorced workaholic fund manager Seok-woo (Gong-Yoo) is trapped on a train with his young daughter, Soo-ann (Kim Su-ann), headed for supposed safety. Having taken very little time out of his crushing schedule for his adorable kid, Seok-woo promises to travel with Soo-ann to see her mother in Busan for her birthday. However, things don't exactly go as planned.

With chaos rolling in all around them, Seok-woo wins his daughter's respect in the most unusual way: by becoming a badass zombie fighter. Together with a group of survivors they fight their way through train cars full of trapped zombies to find other trapped survivors, all while racing to a safer destination point.

It's a survival story about fugitives from disasters having to use their heads, and everything else they've got, to overcome frightening, deadly obstacles when options for defense are dwindling by the moment. The core premise, the claustrophobic but lifesaving train, is cleverly used. There are several twists and the characters' actions are completely unpredictable. Which is exactly what happens in real survival situations: people's behavior is erratic, especially when they are being thrown nonstop through one action set piece after another. Until the very end, of course, when the action stops long enough for an emotional moment of such depth it's on the level of award-winning acting.

Busan has great special effects, including some rather awesomely brutal zombie scenes that ought to satisfy hardcore fans of the walking dead. It's also got some decent drama and even more decent acting. Racy, thrilling and beautifully filmed, this wonderfully entertaining movie is a splendid addition to the zombie genre.

review by
Mary Harvey

12 August 2017

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