Greetings and Salutations, my dearest Blog Readers!
Today, we are back at it with zombie reviews! Today I am reviewing a movie I have wanted to watch for quite a while, and finally had the great pleasure of watching: Train to Busan!
Now, normally, when I review movies, I do tend to give blow by blows of each and every moment of the movie, glossing over very few details, to inform the reader as to exactly why I enjoy it and love said content. This is partially because I do mostly positive reviews of things, opting to say less when I have negative things to say.
I have, however, been told by a few of you wonderful readers, that not everyone loves spoilers the way I do, and maybe I don’t need to tell every single blow by blow, because then you maybe don’t have a reason to watch, play, or read the thing I am reviewing. So, with this in mind, I am going to tell you some stuff, sure, I will likely spoil some stuff, but, I will be instead discussing in detail some key things I liked, and instead focus on telling you, my wonderful readers, the things I liked, that I think you may like, based on you reading my blog.
So, without further adieu, lets discuss: Train to Busan.
First, you should know I did watch a few video reviews of this movie, namely one by WoWSuchGaming, who has an opinion I do very much value when it comes to zombie content, and he did speak very highly on the film. Not that I didn’t agree with much of what he said, but his reviews tend to show clips, so I liked what i was seeing from that video.
I also really liked what I was seeing from trailers and clips, so, I had been hyped for ages to watch it, and had tried to convince a few people in my life to watch it with me, before finally opting to simply watch it myself!
And I am glad I made the choice to watch it because as high as my expectations were for the film, I was very pleased, and my expectations were definitely exceeded!
The movie gives us some beautiful pacing, first of all, with an excellent bit of “how the virus starts” right at the front, then splicing us over to our main characters and the emotional dramas we have with them, setting us up for a perfect zombie film- Remember, in my mind, a good zombie film must have key elements, not just scary zombies and humans to try and defeat them, but also emotional ties to pull on, growth to be made, and development to happen, all while fighting zombies.
Train to Busan instantly begins laying the groundwork for all of this with a broken marriage and sad daughter.
Seok-woo is in the middle of a divorce with his wife, and his daughter, Su-an missed her mother, and is terribly unimpressed, to say the least, with her father’s parenting of her.
We get a little of this established early when, after making his worker, Kim, do something that will matter a lot later, Seok-woo then asks his assistant “what kids like”, and gets Su-an a birthday present! A brand new Wii! And Su-an sadly looks to the Wii she was already given by him, earlier in the year. “Children’s day, earlier this year.” Su-an informs her father sadly.
When Seok-woo asks what she would like, she repeats the request she has been making…to travel by train to Busan to see her mother. She even tells her father he doesn’t have to bother taking her, insisting she will even take herself if he will just allow her to go. ( I know I said I wouldn’t go blow by blow, but this whole scene sets a lot up so, gimme a break it’s small stuff)
After Seok-woo has a talk with his mother, one in which she urges him to fix his marriage and be a better father, she shows him the footage of Su-an suffering from stage fright at her singing recital, when he failed to show up. This is the final nail in the guilt coffin, and the next morning Seok-woo takes Su-an to the train station and father and daughter head to Busan by train.
In the final moments, of course, we notice some of the chaos that has been brewing, spilling into the train station, and of course, one infected woman makes in on board the train, setting off the obvious series of events for a movie called “Train to Busan”.
Quickly, we get to meet other characters, before too much zombie stuff happens, including the baseball team and the cheerleader who came with them, Kim Jin-hee and the main baseball player she is “fated” to be with, Min Yong-guk. We also meet elderly sisters In-gil and Jong-gil, an asshole business man named Yon-suk, a homeless stowaway man who I keep searching for a name, but he never seems to be given one. We also meet the beautiful young couple working-class man Yoon Sang-hwa and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong.
Once we have gotten to meet this whole cast, however, the infected girl who got aboard the train is now fully turning into a zombie, and she attacks a train worker, who then turns much faster than the originally infected, but this is a common and annoying thing that happens in many zombie movies. I do have this problem though, I love this movie but COME ON. But, they also don’t get to explain the virus so maybe there is a reason some turn faster than others.
While Su-an is caught up in some of the action while going to the restroom, Seok-woo gets a call about the zombie outbreak, which wakes him up, and he looks at the news footage for a moment before seeking out Su-an, who has met many of our other characters by now while finding her way to an open restroom. Once the first train worker is infected and turns, rapidly, she attacks others, and they all, in turn, become zombies much quicker than the original girl, or some of the other people we will see later.
Side note here, I can’t believe everyone stood and watched this zombie eat another person and no one started running or doing ANYTHING until it was far too late. Insane. If I see someone eating another person, depending on my stupidity and courage that day, I will either attempt to render aid or run like fucking crazy.
Fuck dead ass staring at the first zombies in the apocalypse. I think the fuck not.
Anyways, while Seok-woo searches for Su-an, the zombies take over much of the train and infect many of the passengers. Seok-woo finds Su-an and the two are able to make a heroic escape to another train with some other survivors.
Thankfully for the two of them, Yoon Sang-hwa has a wife who demands he helps, and while he attempts to render aid, Seok-woo and Su-an get to safety. Yoon Sang-hwa then gets his wife to safety, with very little help from Seok-woo, but they do all get to safety, and learn if the zombies can’t work the doors and they only attack when they can see you. Cool, establishing rules, showing characters working out the problems, good stuff all around. Good scene to catch your breath, but also keep the tension and information flowing. To continue developing story-lines, this scene carries on with Yoon Sang-hwa and Seok-woo -who have issues since Seok-woo had initially shut the door in their faces, but Seong-kyeong diffuses the situation, showing more characterization and developments. Seok-woo than gets a call from his mom, who has been attacked, and we hear her turn. The train ride continues, and I am going to try to stick to my word of not doing a blow by blow of the movie.
But, with these established characters, we get some beautiful story telling in a very short time period. We have great lines, well put together, with great pacing, to keep the story telling and action paired nicely, and we do it all really quickly so we can get into more of the actual “Train to Busan”.
Including a scene where the train conductor says ‘hey we aren’t stopping for a bit’ and the passengers on the train see the chaos at a train station they drive through, while desperate people beg to get on the moving train, and zombies feast. We are shown footage of zombies dropping from planes an attacking people once they hit the ground. The news footage shows tons of violence and the passengers all realize their families and friends are likely gone or in danger, and the government races to respond to the crisis.
The passengers start moving to another car and Su-an offers her seat to one of the elderly sisters, and Seok-woo is being is dick self and is like ‘you don’t have to do that’- but the conversation is cut short when the conductor explains that the military is claiming to be in control of an upcoming city. While Seok-woo makes some calls to see if the city is truly safe, using his rich asshole connections, Su-an talks to the married couple and we learn that Yoon Sang-hwa still hasn’t named the child, and it is a point of contention with then, and Su-an feels the baby kick while touching Seong-kyeong’s belly. All this stuff really building for later when the numbers ‘die’ down.
Seok-woo finds out the military is quarantining in Daejoen- and his work associates agree to help them skirt the quarantine, when they get to the train station in Daejoen.
Obviously, when they get there, we already have problems, and it is painfully obvious to see, but they keep walking. Seok-woo and Su-an find out, right around the same time the other passengers find out, the station is over ran. They all have a thrilling race back to the train, in which a lot of heroics are done, and frankly the entire scene is so great I don’t want to ruin it so- GO WATCH IT.
The asshole business man, Yon-suk, urges the conductor to just leave, but the conductor insists on telling the others, which is why anyone was able to escape to begin with.
Of course, with all the action of getting back to the train, the group does end up divided, with the zombies from the train in the passenger carts between them, and the group separated in the front, back, and a few people, including Su-an and Seong-kyeong are trapped in a bathroom.
Which leads to some more excellent and thrilling scenes that I don’t want to ruin, but the gang does discover that the zombies are fairly docile in the darkness. Once the characters we actually care about are reunited, the asshole Yon-suk causes the problems we have all been expecting- and convinces everyone in the front to not let the survivors into the carriage. In the end, they break in…causing a devastating death, and finally manage to get to the carriage safely, and Yon-Suk and the lemming passengers push the survivors to a luggage vestibule.
One of the elderly sisters, being horrified at their selfishness and also sad her sister had died, lets the zombies into the carriage, however, and chaos continues once more. The train then comes to a stop, with wreckage on the tracks, and the conductor makes his way to the station, getting to a new train. Yon-suk and one of the train workers managed to get into a bathroom and not die in the chaos, and the rest of the survivors make their way to try and get to the new train. The trains are blocking the path so everyone is trying to find a way across- which is what kick off the next series of scary events that leads us to another amazing scene in this movie, the super scary train yard scene, and I don’t want to spoil, but…please know…you should definitely watch this movie.
So, due to a series of events we have some more deaths, and Yon-suk gets bitten, he ends up getting the train conductor, who has now finished getting the train started, and it is driving down the track. Yon- suk gets back to the train, and Seok-woo, Su-an, and Seong-kyeong race to the train, and manage to make it, although the zombies chasing them start to pile up- this isn’t a major spoiler because they showed this in virtually every trailer- but long story short, Seok-Woo gets rid of all the zombies, ends up fighting with zombie Yon-suk, gets bitten himself and….
Well, look, I don’t wanna spoil it but we all probably saw this ending coming, right? The selfish dad finally being selfless?
Anyways, when the train can go no further, Seong-Kyeong and Su-an continue, scared and sad, and military spot them up the the road, while they walk through a dimly lit tunnel. The military guys can’t identify them, and they are ready to kill both of them, until they hear Su-an singing the song she had failed to sing at the recital her father missed, causing her stage fright. The ending is frankly a bit exploitative, but whatever, I still cried, it was sweet.
And, now that I have the funds to rent the sequel, I want to wrap this review up, and go watch the sequel to this movie,which I don’t think follows any of the original characters, but I am still excited for.
Because this movie is incredibly, amazing. It follows the formulas you always wanna see in zombie movies, or at least that I always want to see, but does it in fun new ways. It is a visually beautifully shot film, great gore factors, and the pacing is unbeatable.
Truly, this movie has some major excellence in pacing, and I wish more zombie movies would use this same template for pacing, because it kept the tension high, in the best way, and had a great way of balancing the scenes and keeping you glued to the movie.
All in all, this movie is really great, and is definitely one of the better modern zombie movies I have seen in a while, not just visually, but how it is put together as a film. I highly enjoyed it, and think if you like zombie stuff, you would probably enjoy it, so go watch Train to Busan!
Thank for reading- and maybe watching!