This is an enjoyable film, even if every single moment is telegraphed.
Director Yeon Sang-ho
Screenplay Park Joo-Suk,Yeon Sang-ho
Starring Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Re, Lee Ye-won, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon
Train to Busan is one of those films that finds a new way to show something we’ve all seen before. For those more attuned to South Korea’s history, there is even more to reveal. This time around, it’s less a journey of escape than a heist gone awry. There are fast zombies, faster cars, smooth driving and disposable bad guys. It feels like Mad Max, mixed with the Walking Dead.
The story starts with a Marine (Gang) fleeing with his sister and her family on one of the last boats out of town. They pass another family and they choose not to help them. Then, while on the boat, tragedy strikes again, leaving our Marine and his brother-in-law on their own in Hong Kong. Four years and some horribly executed exposition later, they are on their way back to pick up some U.S. money left in a truck.
It isn’t to hard to get there, so of course it has to go sideways on the way back. This is where the Marine finds some help in a place (at least) he doesn’t expect. From here the film takes two fronts. While one of his team toils in one location, the Marine hooks up with a miniature A-Team that have all of the skill needed to survive, but no ability to leave the peninsula of South Korea.
If none of this feels believable, it is still somewhat artfully done at times. The car chases involving the zombies feel more like a video game, but they still are fun enough to follow without feeling that you’re watching a cartoon. Lee Jung-hyun provides more moxie than many of the men in the first film.
In my review of the first film, I mentioned the fact that many of the men cried hysterically and brought up Chan Ho Park as a reference. He gets a mention here as one of the suffering men thrown to the arena. It’s a nice touch of irony as this guy is hysterical most of the time. He manages to keep it together for a couple of key scenes.
This is an enjoyable film, even if every single moment is telegraphed. Every scene is built on from earlier scenes in at least a logical way and none of the actors, outside of Min-jae’s Sergeant make a complete ass out of themselves. You will find a bevy of references to other films, but in total it does a good job avoiding the retelling of the first story.
(*** out of *****)