Korean thriller is the best fast-zombie pic since Dawn Of The Dead
TRAIN TO BUSAN (Yeon Sang-ho). Subtitled. 117 minutes. Opens Friday (July 22). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Yeon Sang-ho’s Train To Busan is the best fast-zombie picture since the Dawn Of The Dead remake. It’s also an awful lot of fun.
The live-action debut of animator Yeon (The King Of Pigs, Seoul Station), Train To Busan has a particularly high concept: almost the entire film takes place on a speeding train travelling from Seoul to Busan, and its focus is on a handful of passengers trying to survive an outbreak already in progress.
Yeon efficiently establishes his characters, using instantly recognizable pairings – a workaholic father (Gong Yoo) and his young daughter (Kim Soo-ahn), an expectant couple (Ma Dong-seok, Jeong Yu-mi), two older sisters, a corporate asshole and his weak-willed stooge – to map out the conflicting motives that will drive his human drama.
Visually, the action is exaggerated without ever tipping over into cartoonishness, and the monster concept is similarly grounded: the zombies contort and spasm at weird angles, moving in a way that’s recognizably human but also fundamentally wrong. And Yeon delights in the visual contrast of a raging horde of them smashing around in the confined space of a train carriage. Complications arise, panic escalates and things go terribly wrong in just the right way – and amazingly, there’s almost no resemblance to the other recent Korean genre-on-a-train movie, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. Enjoy.