*picks up jaw from floor* Boy oh boy was this so much better than I thought it would be. I almost gave this movie a standing ovation from my living room, until I quickly realized how weird that would be. 😛
For those who may be unaware Train to Busan is a zombie movie that was released on September of 2016 and rose quickly to critical acclaim. I avoided it at the time because I was feeling overwhelmed by the whole zombie craze, felt like it was everywhere and I had gotten downright tired of it. With that said after now watching the movie I am so regretful that I didn’t see this earlier. It is a well crafted movie that manages to fully deliver on it’s premise without sacrificing character development in favor of cool gory action sequences.
The movie primarily centers around Seok-woo and Soo-an, a father-daughter duo. The two don’t start off very close because in all honesty her father is a pretty crappy dad who focuses too much on work. This makes his daughter feel estranged and want to go visit her mother, maybe even permanently. He doesn’t want to take her there at first but soon realizes it would probably be for the best and so they make their way towards Busan. The both of them are unsuspecting of anything unusual, that is until things start to get bizarre on the train ride there. As zombies begin to cause chaos these characters then have to rely on the help and cooperation of various other passengers!
Starting with some positives, the biggest strengths of this movie are the pace and the characters. It slowly eases you into things and gives you glimpses of who you will be following. Then when things begin to unfold the movie knows just the right times to pull back to give you enough time to breathe and give characters nice little moments that make them relatable. They were smartly written and rarely did any dumb stuff. Instead they did the things you would only hope you would do if you were in that situation. That went a long way since we didn’t have enough time to give every one a backstory. Even made the stakes feel more real since the characters themselves where acting real and logical. Made it sadder when one of them died because you knew it wasn’t their fault. 😦
Now as I mention earlier what starts this movie off is Seok-woo and Soo-an, that is because at it’s core this is a character piece about Seok-woo. Throughout the movie you see him grow as a person and see just how much he is willing to go through for his daughter. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any action though, the movie actually has amazing set pieces. I thought this would be hard to accomplish because I thought they would be limited on the train. Again I was so wrong. There are a couple of set pieces off the train but by far my favorite ones where the ones with them ON it. When they where going from one cart to the next it was full of tension and you didn’t know who would die next. Things where kept feeling fresh because of the distinct characters, they each had their own personality and it bled into how they tackled the zombies. A bright spot in these fights was Sang-hwa, by far my favorite character in this. He was tough but brought much needed levity at the right amount of times. He got many nice moments to shine plus you also had to respect the love he has for his pregnant wife. 🙂
As for the zombies themselves, they were pretty scary. With these movies they tend to want to get their own stamp on things. You know how in some movies zombies are really slow but in others they are fast? In this one they added something I hadn’t seen too often. That is when you get bit you are really screwed because you get turned instantly. Like within a minute! I’ve grown accustomed to characters having at least a couple of hours before getting turned. You know, with them being a bit useful before ultimately meeting their end. In this that is not the case so it is a big contributor to what keeps the pace up.
In case you are getting TOO freaked out at this point, let me add that this movie isn’t all a big downer. There are genuinely funny moments here and there. The father daughter dynamic that slowly improves throughout the film is heart warming. You even have a little high school romance that blossoms. 😀 This movie is much more than a throwaway zombie movie. There are many little things in there to capture your interest. Just be fully aware that with so many good characters that pop up some of your faves will ultimately meet an untimely death. T_T
With all that said the movie is totally worth checking it out. It’s on Netflix so if you have that then there is no reason to not at least give it a try. It might very much end up being one of your faves. ^_^