Stars: Yoo Gong, Yu-Mi Jung
Budget: 10 billion SKW, almost $9m
Directed By: Sang-Ho Yeon
Wow, what can I say?
Korea had gangnam style break out now we have a full on viral infected zombie outbreak film.
Will it or has it taken the world by storm like that of a sun-glassed blue suit wearing singer?
Only time will tell, but i will say here before the review i sure hope it does. This film is great it's got like 90% practical effects too which is refreshing to see in a film universe dominated by CGI.
You may be used to seeing ghosts or possession type films coming from the east, but a full blown 28 days later, though clearly inspired by world war z too zombie film?
It's pretty unheard of, even before the review ends i have to say this is a must watch film, a five out of five?
You'll have to keep reading on to see how it goes!
So we start the film with a farmer (i think) of some sorts driving through some kind of quarantined area, he has a bit of a moan when some men sanitize his little truck. Then as he's driving away his phone rings, while he's reaching for it he hits something in the road. Exiting his vehicle he see's it's a deer, although when he re-enters and drives off the dead animal reanimates with milky white eyes.
We then cut to an office where a clearly workaholic man, one Seok-Woo is busily working away. He's a funds manager (whatever one of those is its frowned upon)stuck on what to buy Soo-an his daughter for her birthday. He even asks one of his work colleagues.
Returning home that night with a nintendo Wii, we see Soo-an already has one from someone else (possibly her mother). We also realise Seok-woo is a single parent. He asks his daughter what she really wants for her birthday, apparently to go see her mother in Busan.
He's reluctant because of work but agrees to go with her to see her mother, despite saying she'd go on her own! He is then shown a video of her singing in class, but she stops though the class still applaud her efforts.
On the way to the train station it is clear something is going down, fires in buildings and emergency services rushing about, Seok-woo even nearly crashes due to them thundering about. Though they both make it to the train station event free.
On the train we are introduced to a pregnant woman (Seong-Kyeong) and her husband (Sang Hwa), a young baseball team ( two of which are focused on boyfriend and girlfriend, Yong-guk and Jin-Hee) and finally two old women, sisters In-Gil and Jon-Gil.
Just before the train is about to depart an injured girl barges onto the train unnoticed. She quickly becomes an infected zombie thingy (though they are more like 28 days later infected), she then infects a train stewardess, who in turn starts to chow down on some of the baseball players.
All our main heroes make it into the designated train compartments, although Seok does initially lock Seong and Sang out thinking they're doomed. Sang takes to calling Seok a douche for the rest of the film now. news reports on the TV tell of riots and people breaking out into violent rampage all over the country. The conductor tells the passengers over the radio that they have been asked to not stop until they arrive in Daejeon where they will be quarantined. Seong works out that the infected are only enraged/after them if they can see them and blocks the window with wet paper.
They also find a homeless man in the toilets, before they pull into Daejeon Seok gives a guy he knows a ring asking if he can get his daughter and him to safety. The homeless man hears conformation that they can be if they meet a contact at a designated point.
Daejeon station already looks ominous as they pull into it, deserted and empty. This isn't helped any further as the rest of the station is also empty. Seok takes his daughter a different way closely followed by the homeless guy (who overheard the call).
Both groups are headed off by the infected, lots more of the nameless passengers get killed here, a few including Sang manage to close a door long enough for some survivors to make it back to the train (Sang even waits for Seok to get through the door in a role reversal).
However making it back to the train the remnants are split up between the carriages, Soo-an, Seong, Jong-Gil and the homeless guy get caught in a carriage and just about manage to barricade themselves into a bathroom. Seok, Sang and Yong in another, Jin-Hee gets to the front cabin with a host of other nameless survivors and a CEO I shall from now on call Mr dick. I call him Mr Dick as from now on he is nothing but trouble and the main cause of death for a lot of people, especially some of the main cast.
The three men battle their way towards the 4 trapped people and in doing so find out that the infected cannot see very well in low light situations, such as going through the tunnels. They rescue their loved ones and nearly make it back to the safe carriage. Unfortunately at the behest of Mr Dick the rest of the passengers have blocked the door. Yong begins to break through as Seok and Sang desperately try to stop the infected coming through a door.
The first lump in throat happens here, i for some reason got really attached to Sang-Hwa and while holding the door closed he is bitten on the hand, i felt so bad that he will not get to see his unborn child come into the world, especially since they hadn't thought of a name for it yet.
Despite this Yong breaks through the first door and while Sang courageously hold back the hordes for as long as he can before turning, Seok and Yong manage to get into the safe carriage. Unfortunately and seen by her sister Jong-Gil is also caught and infected.
Mr Dick (after Seok gives him a couple of whacks) convinces the other passengers that the people who got back might be infected and should be quarantined to the storage area just forward of the safe carriage. In-Gil upset at the death of her sister opens the door and the safe carriage is flooded with the infected who seemingly kill everyone in there.
In the toilet Seok receives a phone call from some co-worker and this is a major misstep in the movie to me. An explanation, whether he's right or not I don't know it could just crazed ramblings of a mad-man. apparently their work plants caused the outbreak, that's it though nothing else is said on the matter, i just don't think that scene was needed.
The railway to the last Busan stop is unfortunately blocked by freight cars, the driver bravely suggests that he will run and get a new train on a different line. We also now get to see that Mr Dick along with the male train orderly, escaping from the toilet Mr Dick pushes the orderly into a group of infected so he can get away quicker.
The driver finds a new train and starts it moving, just as another train on fire comes thundering up the track knocking another train over onto Soo-an, Seok, Seong and the homeless guy under a train now on it's side. Yong and Jin on the other side see no way of helping so they continue on.
Making it into another compartment of another train Yong tries to open a jammed door to the other side where the train is, unfortunately Mr Dick comes along chased by infected and throws Jin onto them. She is bitten on the leg, Mr Dick escapes opening the jammed door leaving Yong with a Jin about to change. She does change and Yong just accepts this and lets her bite him too.
The other four trapped under carriage with straining windows full of infected inches from their faces look for a way out. Seok finds a hole under the tipped carriage but not before one of the windows breaks. It's now homeless guy, who has been a bit chicken up till now chance to be brave.
He holds a good bunch of them back while Seok clears some fallen rubble. Homeless man is then piled on by loads more infected as more windows break open. The other three make it out just as the compartment falls which would have crushed them.
Mr Dick is in trouble infected nibbling at his feet so the train driver leaps from the moving train to help him only to be thrown (once again) to the mouths of hungry crazies. Mr Dick makes it to the train and starts to increase it's speed.
The other three manage to get to the speeding train and get on not before a horde of infected manage to latch themselves onto the train and get dragged along like a giant carpet of the living dead. Seok manages to break their grip and they are seemingly free.
Checking the cabin Seok see's Mr Dick who bursts from the drivers room just on the verge of turning into an infected, it seems he was bitten in the earlier scuffle. He cries about meeting his mother before going full on infected.
Seok fights him off for a little while until he's knocked back a bit and Seong gets Dick's attention by hitting him. To save her and his daughter Seok wraps a chain around his middle grabs Dick from behind where the most terrible thing happens, Mr Dick makes one more dick move, he bites Seok on the hand as he flings him and himself over the side.
Getting to safety Seok places his daughter and Seong in the drive room, tells Seong how to slow it down when they see Busan insight, then much to mass amounts crying from Soo-an and my own eyeballs he says goodbye to his daughter.
Seok goes to back of the train and slowly changing into an infected brings the memory of his daughters birth to his mind as one last thought. I had the most massive lump in my throat and tears streaming from my eyes at this, i felt like such a baby but i know what he felt being a dad myself and kudos to this film and his acting skills to elicit such emotions from me. He then leaps from the back of the train with a smile on his face.
Now there's not much left to the film but you know i don't spoil endings here, what i will say is there's still a super intense scene to come and the song Soo-an wanted to sing for her dad comes into play and almost made me weep again.
All this and the film was sub titled too!
But coupled with absolutely fantastic acting by everyone even the little girl playing Soo-an I was able to get engrossed in the film and really feel how human everyone was too.
It's been a while since a film has made me have feels like this and Train to Busan is now in my top ten zombie/infected films and wholeheartedly deserves this 5 out of 5 by THN.