Train To Busan is a Zombie Thrill Ride

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Train to Busan (2016)
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Starring: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jeong, Dong-seok Ma

All aboard the zombie hype train!

Train to Busan is a record breaking Korean zombie thriller about train passengers escaping the undead. These aren’t the slow moving walkers from The Walking Dead, these are freaky running zombies like in World War Z.

Compared to American films, the most notable difference in a Korean made zombie movie is that guns are not prevalent in their culture. Sure, there is plenty of mayhem and death during the horrific outbreak, but not once does any character use a gun to put a bullet in a zombie’s brain. Train to Busan does not revel in the zombie kill, it does try to find moments of solace when a survivor bites the dust.

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Here’s a cheery thought for you. Everyone you know will die someday. In the zombie apocalypse that time will come sooner than later for most.  It’s not a question of if, but how you’ll go out. Will you be a hero who’ll risk your life to save a girl in danger? Or will you selfishly lock the door shut behind you, sacrificing others to keep yourself alive just a little longer?

For Seok Woo he’s been so focused on himself and his career, he barely knows what to get Soon-an, his young daughter, for her birthday. Soon-an’s birthday wish is simple. She wants to take the train to Busan to visit her mom.

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The cast is an eclectic mix of characters almost all of whom get their hero or villain moment. There are also a number of moments when a character makes a foolish decision, you wonder to yourself “Hey Stupid, haven’t you ever watched a zombie movie before?!” The most rootable character is Sang Hwa. He’s strong as a tank, protecting his pregnant wife, helping helpless passengers and calling people out on their assholery. Sang Hwa is the Daryl Dixon of this zombie apocalypse. 

Can a zombie movie just be a zombie movie or should it have some sort of social commentary? Train To Busan does have an element of social satire if you look hard enough. When all goes to hell, you can’t rely on the government or military to save you. Individuals are not blameless either.Do you help others in need? Do you make quality time for your family? Does the corporation you work for share your values?

It’s pretty clear the zombie fad isn’t dying just yet. Train To Busan fever has infected Korea and is spreading out across the globe. To whet your zombie appetite, Train to Busan delivers a fast paced, exciting movie. The blood and gore isn’t dialed up all the way which makes it more palatable for those who are horror adverse. For deeply satisfying thrills however, there are better zombie movies out there.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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