Film name: Train to Busan
Release date: 2016
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Script: Park Joo-suk
Studio: Next Entertainment World
I do love a good zombie movie, though recently I’ve been thinking ‘You could out-stroll your pursuer and still not work up a sweat’ as I watch some of the classics.
So, I was delighted that Train to Busan features fast zombies. Even at your top-sprinting speed, you’re still in real danger from these guys.
Speed was the order of the day for this 2016 South Korean film starring Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi. The action is set onboard a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan.
A zombie outbreak, apparently right out of nowhere but taking the capital by storm, engulfs the city even as fund manager Seok-woo and his young daughter Su-an board the train.
Su-an’s parents have separated. She’s been living with her father and grandmother, but longs to spend time with her mother. Her father agrees to take her, concerned that she’s not old enough to make the journey alone.
Grandmother turns into a zombie after they leave, and Su-an’s father cannot reach his estranged wife on the phone during the journey.
This leaves us clear that Su-an must depend upon her father and the pregnant married woman they meet during their journey for safety.
The train is packed as the doors close on the zombies already taking over Seoul station. The passengers see burning buildings as the train speeds for Busan. It isn’t long before a warning to the passengers from a terrified homeless man comes true, and the zombies who have snuck onboard attack everyone.
Train to Busan is a particularly bloodthirsty movie, one of many things I loved about it. The death count mounts, not just on the train but also when it stops en route for the staff to find out more about what is happening.
Partway through the journey, everyone on the train is told to disembark for processing in Daejeon, about 170km south of Seoul. They’ll be checked to see if they carry the zombie virus and those who are clean will be protected.
However, as soon as they enter the main part of the station they are attacked by fast-zombie soldiers. This was absolutely my favourite part of the Train to Busan.
The central theme of Train to Busan, which was an exceptionally thoughtful film, was the reliance a child places on mother and father. The mother can be a replacement figure, such as Su-an’s grandmother, or a pregnant stranger, such as Seong-kyeong.
Trust is built quickly during times of adversity. Be it during a parental divorce or an attack of fast zombies, the film leaves us in no doubt that a child is best off with a mother or a mother figure.
In this way, Train to Busan (like many horror films) was very conservative in its subtext. Su-an’s father has been a good provider financially, and he more than proves himself as her protector during the zombie attacks.
Seong-kyeong’s husband start off as a comic character scolded by his despairing wife. However, his chance for physical bravery soon comes and he is not found wanting.
I loved Train to Busan from start to finish. There was so much action, a very strong story line, many characters to care about who fell to the zombies, and an underlying philosophy of life that was eternal and empowering. The pace kept going right up to the end.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Train to Busan.
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