Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Train to Busan

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While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

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Cast

Gong Yoo – Seok-woo

Kim Su-an – Soo-an

Ma Dong-seok – Sang-hwa

Jung Yu-mi – Seong-kyeong

Kim Eui-sung – Yong-suk

Choi Woo-shik – Young-gook

Ahn So-hee – Jin-hee

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Derailed

Train to Busan is absolutely fucking insane. It’s right up there with Hardcore Henry as one of the most unique and downright bizarre movies I have seen of the last ten years. It really is an absolute derailment – in a good way. A simple story which starts a bit slow, quickly becomes total carnage when passengers on a moving train fall prey to flesh-eating zombies. This concept sets the movie up for a contained apocalypse instantly, ensuring a simplistic theme to run on. There are no other diversions in the plot as it barrells at the same speed as the train itself, the movie focuses solely on a swiftly decreasing group of survivors running for their lives.

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Viewers are certainly not short of action as the characters jump, run and smash their way through the speeding train (even getting dragged along by it at one stage) to avoid the monsters who, seconds before, had been normal commuters. This is what makes Train to Busan so bloody mad, it is ram-packed with dizzying physical action which bursts into life at random intervals.
One minute a little old Korean lady is sat being comforted by her travelling companion – next minute she’s pressed against a carriage door surrounded by blood and body parts. This movie certainly didn’t fail to get facial and vocal reaction from me; I sat with my mouth hanging open for a good 60% of it. And of course, my favourite phrase, “what..the..FUCK” was probably heard by fellow audience members seated nearby rather frequently.

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But Train to Busan is a foreign film, spoken entirely in Korean and laced with Korean writing also (those funny little symbols where just one singular letter looks like a picture of a small house – complete with garage, etc.)
So is it watchable?

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Absolutely.
Although I wouldn’t have a clue what the characters were saying if not subtitled in English, I got right into the movie just by the non-stop action unfolding on screen. So I had to keep flashing glances at the bottom of the screen, but it was no hardship; I was enjoying what I was watching too much to give a shit.

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Carnage in the Carriage

Fans of screen-splattering gore will not be disappointed with Train to Busan. There are bodies and blood flying in every direction for a good 55% of its screen time (this shit is like Kill Bill on speed). The cast support the visuals nicely with energetic performances too. Sprinting and rolling, jumping, running manically at things, screaming, howling.. no one does it better than the Koreans. And this is proved here as Yoo and his ensemble become almost animal-like in their display of utter carnage.

Another striking element to the production is the slight sense of claustrophobia. Almost all of this movie is set onboard the titular mode of transport; either in the passenger carriages, corridoors, driver’s cabin or the tiny restrooms, so the actors have very limited space to play with. This heightens the sense of claustrophobia, especially when one end of the train is cut off because of zombies. The characters are then faced with being stuck in a single train carriage with either one direction only to run in – or no direction at all.
Yes, if small spaces make you feel uneasy – beware.

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What Went Wrong

Dynamic as its concept may be, Train to Busan is clearly north Korea sticking their hands up and saying, “let us have a go at zombies!”. The story is original (not many movies / television series’ feature rabid monsters on a moving train), but ultimately is just ‘another one’ to add to Hollywood’s zombie pile. Three things in entertainment I’ve seen too much of now:
Vampires.
Zombies.
People in business suits acting like they’re politicians.
(ok, 4 – Donald Trump).

These three things seem to be being recycled and repeated all the time, with Train to Busan being no exception. So here we are yet again, faced with the great undead (or near-dead).

Something about this movie is awful. Although I was entertained for most of it, I have to say it’s a bit shit. Ever rented or watched a complete random 80% of Earth’s population have probably never heard of? A poorly edited random which consists of unknown – or distant – actors, and an almost fuzzy finish to its picture quality?
Train to Busan is a step up from this. A step up from the likes of The Happening, Arctic Blast, Sinkhole and Meteor Storm. Thankfully, the points mentioned above save it from hitting rock bottom totally.

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So there you have it.
Absolute fucking madness from opening to closing credits. Be prepared for fast-moving scenes of utter carnage. Train to Busan made me feel slightly breathless watching it, viewers certainly aren’t short of action.
The acting is superb and 100% believable, the zombies are as effective as other movies such as 28 Weeks Later, and a hell of a lot of work went into this movie. Train to Busan has made it into my Top 10 of 2016.
Give it a go.

 

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This entry was posted on November 26, 2016 by .
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