Over the last few weeks I’ve had a major resurgence in my interest in asian films. As the year wrapped up and different best of 2016 lists began to surface I started to notice a couple of films would occur more than others. One was “The Wailing”(which I have not seen), another was “The Handmaiden”(also have not seen) and the last one was “Train to Busan” I’d read enough reviews that explained it may not just be the best asian zombie movie ever made but may be in the upper echelon of films in the genre. I made a mental check on my “to watch” list.
This week I was lurching around the new release section when a familiar title caught my eye. I was ecstatic to discover “Train to Busan” had received a large enough DVD release that it was readily available at traditional media outlets. So I scooped it up and its been sitting on my TV stand for 3 days.
This evening the wife and I came home from a night out. She decided to turn in for the night, tucked in watching some sort reality tv nonsense while I sat out in the living room and experienced the most satisfying zombie film experience I’ve ever had. It reminded me of the first time I saw “Undead” the amount of fun I had seeing this film. The major difference of course “Undead” is a B-Movie which relies on its schlock and awe to win you over and 15-year-old me was buying every bit of nonsense it had to offer. “Train to Busan” however is a masterpiece in this genre.
Quick story summary if you were unaware : Yoo Gong(my introduction to him) plays father to a young girl whose recently split from his wife. He is very successful and as always seems to happen, he’s allowed his work to overshadow his personal life. Its his daughter’s birthday and all she wants is to take a trip to Busan to see her mother. At first Gong is hesitant, pushing it off and claiming he is too busy. After some persistence he agrees to take her. On their train ride there, a zombie outbreak occurs.
If Gong’s performance remained the same and every other member of the cast had phoned it in this would have still been an extremely entertaining flick. The good news is, the cast of this movie crushes. It’s hard for me to reference any of the other actors as I’m just beginning my journey into the asian market but I’ll highlight the two that stuck out.
Dong-seok Ma plays husband to a pregnant wife and the role of badass throughout. Even with him punching, kneeing, and body slamming zombies throughout you never want to call shenanigans. He does an excellent job just portraying a man who will do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves.
And Eui-sung Kim plays the COO of a railroad company who will do whatever it takes, including throwing other survivors into the arms of the zombies if it keeps him safe. He is scum, and you will learn to hate him.
I approached this movie with plan in mind to watch it, review it and then move on to the next one. After watching it for the first time, it’s going to get at least one more spin through before i’m able to watch anything else.
Final Note : I watched this in Korean with English subtitles. So I am unsure of the quality of the dub.