The odd sounding title to this review has meaning. Zombie movies have for long been the staple genre for commercial movies and even renowned actors and directors have fallen prey to this saturated genre of cinema.
The Train to Busan is no different. It uses catchy character roles and tries to pander to every niche of the crowd to gain an audience. Couples, the older generation, the younger generation, kids, the average working class and even vagabonds. Yes there is a character representative for whoever you are in our society and there is considerable screen time for them too.
Maybe I am being too critical. There are positives to this movie too; the use of exceptional cinematography will not go unnoticed. The movie is shot/set in the Korean high speed rail areas and does a good job of capturing the various elements that come with the railways-setting, there is a good transition from the light-hearted scenes to the edgier moments. There is a mellow shift from showing regular life, to showing that of the apocalypse that was to shortly ensue. All of which are probably catered more to the exceptional box-office performance of the movie.
Gong Yoo has done a splendid job of depicting the character of the leading role-player in the movie. Seok Woo, as he is called in the movie, is a fund manager and father of the child who wishes to visit her mom who lives in Busan.
(Fun Fact: Gong Yoo was actually born in Busan)
While Gong Yoo clearly had a better grasp of his character most of the relatively younger actors (yes you the actor who played the high school baseball player kid), could have given more time to consider their facial expressions during their screen time.
Another character to be cherished in the movie is played by Ma Dong-seok (aka Don lee), a chubby but surprisingly strong guy who beats zombies to a pulp with his bare hands. Don Lee has been propelled into the global industry ever since his success in this movie and is expected to star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s new addition Eternals.
Even though most of the lesser known actors could not deliver in terms of performance, the movie grossed well purely because of its cinematography and surprisingly good ending. There are a few super witty scenes in the movie played by Jung Yu-mi, an indie arthouse rockstar in my opinion (will review a few short films featuring her in the near future).
This movie is overall fun to watch, but don’t go in expecting a phenomenal plot or script. A good watch for them I-need-to-pass-time people.
The trailer is here.
IMDB rated it a 7.5/10 from about 110,000 votes.
Rotten tomatoes gave it 95%.
Metacritic gave it 72% based on 15 critic votes.
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