Train to Busan follows a work-obsessed father whose daughter demands to live with her mother. While on the train to drop his daughter off with his ex-wife, the train is besieged by a zombie-like outbreak. As the character smorgasbord is introduced, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren't confined to the train and that their only hope of survival may be the city of Busan.
Train to Busan Review
It is truly disappointing that we haven't reviewed this film till now. All we can do is apologize. Train to Busan is a wonderful piece of zombie horror that gets a lot of things right where many recent American zombie movies have gotten it wrong. If I were to steer one complaint from the hype-rdrive machine, it is that, while the film is very good at doing the zombie thing, it is still just succeeding and advancing on zombie tropes. Now, that just means that the plot isn't going to deliver anything revolutionary, but the style, visuals and lovable characters set it apart.
The characters aren't particularly original, but their delivery of their respective roles is on-point. We have the reluctant father who begins as morally ambiguous, but becomes the gauge for the moral fiber of the cast during his process of trying to survive. The moral compass of this film happens to be the muscle as well, but peal the onion back a bit and his most apparent flaw of overconfidence is humorously played upon. The ensemble proceeds to fill out the respective roles that are common in such films, but the emotional spectrum and its depth was refreshing and helped you to better latch onto the film.
Many of the action sequences felt like World War Z, but with more thought and creativity poured into it. With a slightly smaller perspective (we're focused on South Korea rather than the whole world), we get the rabid mob dynamic in visually enticing ways, but in a way that doesn't make you feel like it's merely a natural disaster's force, which focuses more on spectacle than fear.
The relentless use of every introduced character in a perfect balance was the highlight for me. You have a genuine care for the survival or death of most of them as they split into their proverbial moral factions. What is it to be a hero? What is it to be a father? What is sacrifice? What is selfishness? What is love? What is hate? This film answers so many questions with the vehicle of the flesh-eating undead, and uses it to empower the lessons learned.
But when push comes to shove, this movie is just a very well-made zombie movie. It gives you interesting characters and an easily followed plot with plenty of action, horror and moments of levity to be solidly entertaining throughout. Zombies are getting worked to death, but they can still be fun when done right.
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Film Quality: 7/10