Puscifer “Apocalyptical,” Train to Busan, and More!

Train to Busan

Hawk: Train to Busan was one of those movies that I had always wanted to see, but just kind of never did. I’m not super big on zombies unless there’s a good hook to it, but South Korean cinema is absolutely second to none. Then, director Yeon Sang-Ho announced he was developing a follow-up, titled Peninsula. It’s not necessarily a sequel, he said, but rather another story in that same universe, occurring four years after Train to Busan. He cited Land of the DeadMad Max: Fury Road, and Akira as influences. Those influences are clear when you watch the trailer for Peninsula, which is, there is no other way to put it: freaking awesome. The director has said himself that this follow-up will dwarf the scope of the original in such a way as to make it look like an independent film, and he’s not kidding:

Enthralled by Peninsula’s trailer, I finally put on Train to Busan on Netflix—and what the hell took me so long? Train to Busan is a spectacular zombie movie, striking that inimitable South Korean balance of tone. It’s breathlessly fast-paced and exciting, legitimately frightening, and features interesting, complex characters with genuine moments of emotion. The story is simple: a group of strangers, including a workaholic father on shaky ground with his daughter, must make their way towards the front of the train where each of their travel companions has ended up. They’re hurried by the advance of the horde of zombies in the train cars behind them.

The zombies swarm, kind of like in World War Z, but that movie’s tidal waves of the undead, while spectacular, spoke more to an action flick sensibility and wasn’t altogether scary. This film has fewer zombies, but the way they tumble and spill clumsily over each other, contort during transformation, and grow almost immediately in number makes them a terrifying threat rendered more so in the tight confines of the train. There’s also the requisite classism—the privileged look down on those they perceive to be expendable, and this informs many of the character decisions made. Likewise, the core group of characters band together quickly, and often selflessly help each other out and work together, oftentimes bucking the unconscious bias you might have just looking at one of them.

While Train to Busan isn’t necessarily an action movie, it’s paced like one. The frenetic score, tightly confined space and the single direction the characters are forced in combined with the ticking clock of the advancing horde are all elements of a smartly written and engaging movie. Genre junkies will also be pleased to find out that the characters actually protect their forearms—one of the most vulnerable parts of the body for some reason. It’s a masterfully crafted genre piece that I was unable to look away from, and the breathtaking trailer for Peninsula has me even more excited.

A man carries a child in front of others in Train to Busan

Written by TV Obsessive

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