Train To Busan has been a blockbuster hit across Asia, setting box office records that haven’t been seen since The Admiral: Roaring Currents was in theatres. Viewers are thrilled, trapped on a speeding train in South Korea during the zombie apocalypse, the train swarming in undead as the outside world goes to hell.
We follow Seok-woo (played by Gong Yoo in his best big-screen role yet) as a divorced father, taking his daughter Su-an to visit her mother in Busan as a birthday treat. As the train crosses the country, it gradually becomes more infected and the dwindling passengers flee through carriages. While this is happening, we get a feeling for the outside world through phone calls between travelers and relatives, and fleeting horrific stops at desolated destinations along the train line. The characters portrayed by Gong Yoo and his onscreen daughter feature an incredible depth of emotion, with the zombie genre ultimately swept aside for a more family-based action drama blockbuster.
Train To Busan is the live-action debut of director Yeon Sang-ho, who is widely known for his animated features The King of Pigs and, more recently, for the animated prequel Seoul Station, which also takes place during this zombie outbreak. Yeon has an excellent eye for action, as the handheld camera takes full advantage of cramped carriages, whilst zombie transformations happen in an extended, unrelentingly gory shot that never pulls away, showing the true extent of the great makeup and visual effects artists who worked on the film.
As an audience member, the pace feels unrelenting at a breathtaking 118-minute runtime. With a combination of incredible casting, rapid pacing and great scripting, Train To Busan is the best South Korean zombie film you’ll ever see.
CAST: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jeong, Dong-seok Ma
DIRECTOR: Sang-ho Yeon
WRITER: Sang-ho Yeon
SYNOPSIS: While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.