Train to Busan Movie Review
Exciting, action-packed and moderately gory, Train to Busan is a satisfying zombie thriller, even if it isn’t enough to chew on to obtain classic status.
Set in South Korea, the movie follows a group of passengers who are stuck aboard a speeding train during a zombie outbreak. It’s a simple premise, yet one that is somewhat unique in the zombie sub-genre; what happens throughout is nothing you haven’t seen in other zombie films, but the isolating setting at least makes things a bit unpredictable—and offers different avenues for excitement than you’re accustomed to.
The acting is just okay—there are times when the actors over emote, or just stare and stare as if waiting for instruction—though it’s adequate for a picture such as this. The characters are the bigger problem—star Yoo Gong’s is serviceable but isn’t the most engaging, and all but Dong-seok Ma (the real stand-out in the film) are interchangeable and instantly forgettable. Writer/director Sang-ho Yeon makes it hard for you to care whether any given character lives or dies.
But while the screenplay leaves little to be desired, Yeon makes up for it with blistering action that begins within the film’s first couple minutes and doesn’t let up until the closing credits. Similar to the acting, Yeon tends to overdo it at times—flashes of slow-motion and moments of CGI that are a bit too reminiscent of I Am Legend are unnecessary—but all in all, Train to Busan is a blast.
The subtitles will scare away some people, but you don’t need to read—let alone speak Korean—to enjoy this tasty treat.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.