If you’ve heard anything about Train to Busan since the 2016 debut of Yeon Sang-ho’s feature, you might not be surprised to learn that I loved it. It may have taken me a few years to get around to it, but it definitely ranks high among zombie flicks, and it’s surprisingly swift given its nearly two-hour runtime.
The premise is dead simple: Workaholic Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) is an absentee father who finds it difficult (read: too time-consuming and inconvenient) to connect with his young daughter. As little of his time as he’s able to give her, he’d rather she didn’t travel to Busan to visit her mom on her own, so he elects to escort her on her train ride in the morning. Unbeknownst to them—or anyone else on the train for that matter—this particular journey happens to coincide with the moment a full-on zombie outbreak occurs.
And there’s your hook: Zombies on a train! Even in these close quarters, Train to Busan is shot with real expertise, making up for the claustrophobic setting with well-paced action beats and the kind of emotional core we’ve come to expect from many of the South Korean smash hits out there.
Thanks to all the heavy lifting it does with its characters in the first act, Train to Busan sticks its heart-wrenching landing with gusto. It also has Dong-seok Ma totally stealing the show as this dude:
As usual, despite breaking records upon its release in Korea and wowing critics around the world, Train to Busan is getting remade in English. At least it was as of a couple years ago; I’m not sure if this still holds true, but once again the assumption is that audiences here won’t read subtitles (which is probably accurate). I’m totally game for Sang-ho’s sequel, however.
Halloween 2019 Movies:
1. Sequence Break
2. Deadtime Stories
3. Hell House LLC
4. Body Bags
6. Friday the 13th Part III
7. Child’s Play 2019
8. Ghoulies II
9. Satanic Panic
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
12. You’re Next
14. The Ranger
15. The Fly