I’ve been meaning to catch this one for a while. And what better time then while laid up by a furious ‘flu which bids fair to bring on the zombie apocalypse? Seriously: I haven’t seen so much snot since… no… actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much snot before. It’s like a vengeful god pointed at my house from the heavens and intoned “LET THERE BE SNOT” — and there was.
Right. Sorry. Not at my best right now.
So. Train To Busan. Zombie flick outta Korea. Look, let’s be honest. By and large, once you’ve seen a couple of zombie movies, you’ve pretty much seen ’em all. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl bites boy… actually that happens about three quarters of the way through the movie.
Train To Busan has a lot going for it, though. The plot is simple, easy, and supports the film structure neatly. Mister Uptight Businessman is chivvied against his wishes into accompanying his little daughter on a train to see her mother (there’s a divorce in the background) in Busan. He’s been a dilatory parent — too focused on his business as a fund manager, missing her school recitals… Naughty man. He’s lost sight of what’s important in life. And do you think that a full on zombie apocalypse will help him recover his inner humanity?
Well, duh! And seeing as how it’s pretty much all set on a bullet train, there’s plenty of paranoia and claustrophobia and gorily enthusiastic zombification. A whole lotta chomp going on.
The zombies themselves are cool. Fast-moving, violent, rage-filled bastards who will go after anything human they can see. (Or maybe anything living. The first zombie we see is actually a deer, which is pretty nifty.) Lot of good physical performances in the zombie squad. My daughter gave up after the first wave of zombies on the train… too creepy for her. Fair enough, too.
So it’s got cool zombies. It’s got a solid theme and a decent — if unsubtle — dramatic arc. Throw in plenty of suspense, some really clever zombie-escaping and zombie-thwarting, a seriously heroic badass bluecollar guy whose courage inspires our protagonist to rediscover himself, and you’ve got a fine, entertaining zombie flick. Run up some popcorn, turn down the lights, and settle back for a good time.
Just don’t expect too many survivors from this one…