Thursday, October 6, 2016

[Review] Train to Busan

This South Korean zombie flick's "Dun dun dun dun..." moment arrives toward the beginning when a deer gets leveled by a moving vehicle, then the roadkill rises to its feet and stares directly into the camera with glazed white eyes, letting us know we're in for a wild ride. Hop on the Train to Busan.

Meet Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) and his daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim) as they prepare to board a fast rail from Seoul to Busan (Dun dun dun dun...). Much to their surprise, the train becomes overrun with zombies (Don't you hate when that happens?), and all the passengers must fight for their lives.

Things get gruesome and gory fast, especially as the zombies multiply and strike rabidly and rapidly (the train isn't the only thing that moves fast) with their possessed body contortions, vicious growling, and hideously infected faces. The chaotic frenzy is escalated with the film's sped-up frames and operatic soundtrack. So, this isn't exactly some serious or subversive alternative to the lingering zombie craze. In fact, it's not afraid to get campy. Zombies leap-tackle folks like it's a football game, they plow head-first into plexiglass, and at one point they're literally falling out of the sky.

In a similar way to the film's cousin Snowpiercer--there is a rumbling of class conflict between the different sections of the train, and the narrative ushers in some themes of ethics and virtue amidst a bite-neck setting. But watching all this zombie-slaying can still get repetitive and exhausting over the course of two hours, so that's why audiences who aren't content with the usual genre tactics will be glad to find out that there's a surprisingly emotional payoff in the end. And while Train to Busan's big setpieces of combat and chases and stampeding hordes are impressive, it's really the film's one-on-one altercations that create the most thrills.

( 7.5/10 )

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