Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Review

Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Review | by

Recommended Audience: Fans of Gong Yoo 공지철, Kim Su-An 김수안, Jung Yu-Mi 정유미‬, Ma Dong Seok ‎마동석‬, Choi Woo-Sik 최우식‬, An So-Hee 안소희, Kim Eui-Sung 김의성 and Korean/ Zombie movie fans


Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Synopsis

A mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency! As an unidentified virus sweeps the country, Korean government declares martial law. TRAIN TO BUSAN_YEON SANG-HO_PHOTO1Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival. 453 kilometers from Seoul to Busan, the struggle to survive by those who have others to protect, get on board to stay alive!

Train to Busan (부산행) Viewer Rating: 4.75/5 *****

Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Review:

The news of the virus had spread to Singapore even before the film was released. Widely-acclaimed it might be, but I’m not a fan of zombie apocalypse films, so what has this film got to offer that makes even the fans rave about it? Well, to do a common thing uncommonly well brings success. So here’s a great example of how filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho execute his tropes so well that it was difficult to nitpick.
Train to Busan Gong Yoo and kidFollowing the recent trend of having a not-so-heroic protagonist, the story established Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) as a very typical corporate workaholic who had little time and patience for his family. He taught his daughter the ropes to survival, self-preserving instead of being kind. But his daughter and an unwanted burly companion taught him otherwise. The pace of the film was as fast as KTX (High Speed Railway), and amidst little comedy here and there, the horror was balanced with drama, action and morality.
TRAIN TO BUSAN_YEON SANG-HOWhat impressed me the most about Su-an (Kim Soo-ahn) was her role as a lonely kid. She’s the only child on the train. Odd? Maybe. Being the only kid who managed to survive the teeth of the zombies, her character encompassed the virtues of compassion and kindness we hope to see in the current society. I did not think much of her character initially, as it’s the usual crying and silent look of helplessness as of what a kid should be. It was until when she opened her mouth to apologize to her dad when I realised what the director had done to build up this character’s outburst. The guilt and the pain was overwhelming.

Train to Busan Movie Still 2Thematically, the movie is very normal. It’s about zombies, human and survival. The director made this what-seems-normal topic interesting with characters which are real and down-to-earth. His zombies all have similar symptoms from the moment they were infected through blood to the point they were transformed (I actually wonder if the director hired breakdancers to become his featured zombies), and they have unique features (such as not knowing how to open doors) which made them uniquely Train-To-Busan-Zombies. The horror of having to pass through the zombie-filled Cabin 9 to 15 while saving some survivors in Cabin 13 became the most tedious and horrifying journey I ever witnessed.

TRAIN TO BUSAN_Husband wifeThe director played well with the quote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” here. Sang Hwa (Ma Dong-seok), looked like a gangster, spoke like a stereotypical uncouth man, was a henpecked husband who protects his temperamental wife, Sung-kyu (Jung Yu-mi) with his life. He was a charismatic character as compared to elitist Seok-woo (Yoo Gong), perhaps because how he played the Captain America in the midst of chaos
Train to Busan KIM Eui-sungIt wasn’t difficult for the audience to know that the antagonist were the violent zombies who are blind in the dark. But when actor Kim Eui-sang appeared halfway through the film as a cowardly businessman who pushes other human to the zombies to slow down their attack, I saw how sometimes, human being are much scarier than zombies. It will take a cultured man a lot of restraint to not spout expletives at him (which means he did a pretty good job with his role!). What angered me the most was how so many major characters were killed off because of his selfish acts. Sad to say, the karma I was expecting didn’t strike hard enough to appease the anger in me.
traintobusan zombie chaseThere were 2 epic scenes which were breathtaking-ly horrifying. One would be the mid-stop where the surviving passengers bumped into the pool of infected soldiers on their escalator down. The other was the massive zombie chase (image above). While it’s odd to have a pregnant lady chasing the train and outrunning the zombies, the fast-paced action and nerve-wracking suspense was good enough to overlook the point. Train to Busan doesn’t have a Disney ending, and it provided horrifying reality when you see the unsung heroes die one by one.

Although I agree that it was a great movie, it was a torture for me to watch characters I’ve invested feelings into, dying and being sacrificed one by one, something I wouldn’t want to watch it again any time soon.

Do You Know?

TRAIN_TO_BUSAN_YEON_SANG-HO_DirectorTrain to Busang (Busanhaeng) is Director Yeon Sang-ho’s first live-action film. Yeon’s previous works were animated features.

Yeon Sang-ho made an animation film ‘Seoul station’ which is the prequel to ‘Train to Busan’. The events in Seoul station take place one day prior to the events in Train to Busan.

Train to Busan An So-Hee Wonder GirlsAhn So-hee, commonly known as Sohee, the South Korean idol actress is a former member of the popular South Korean girl group Wonder Girls

Train to Busan Movie StillTrain to Busan becomes first Korean movie to gross $1 million in Singapore.

Train to Busan Jung Yu-Mi Ma Dong-SeokThe main actor Gong Yoo had an interesting connection with the on-screen couple Jung Yu-Mi and Ma Dong-Seok. He acted with Jung Yu-Mi in a 2011 movie called Silenced, while Ma Dong-seok was his personal trainer

Behind The Scenes and Interviews

Check out Train to Busan (부산행) Facebook Page!
Train to Busan (부산행) is out in cinemas on 4 August 2016.

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*Disclosure: Invitation from Clover Films Singapore. No monetary compensation was received for the movie review.

22 thoughts on “Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Review”

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  5. I loved the movie much more than I expected. From what I understand, this is not a horror movie. Zombies is just the reason to deliver the message and provide the pace of the story. Above all, it’s love and humanity that stands out. Also, even though I’m heart broken at the deaths of characters, I feel like they are very appropriate. I’ve just happened to find your site and I’m really appreciate your thoughts on the movie.

  6. If there is a sequel, there will be more zombies and even Busan couldn’t get away with it just like in Resident Evil. I’m excited for that!

  7. I Love Paars by: Lee

    My rating here is 2/5. I don’t like zomby mobies. I find it shitty and crap. I have watched this film and I hate that I did. All my friends were saying it was a good movie.

  8. Train to Busan was not just a horror or suspense movie! The movie will make you realize what is the meaning of being a father and being unselfish. It was a great movie! I definitely recommend this to my friends and family 🙂 All filipino viewers last night was so amazed. 🙂

  9. People are raving about this film and it’s starting to get to me. I’m pretty hyped about the film and i would like to watch it even if I’m not much of a fan of horror movies. I think this one will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!

  10. If you read my own review of this film, you’d know how much I loved this film. I thought it was an impressive masterpiece for a director is just directing his first live action film. Like you, I wanted to hit Kim Eui-sang’s terrible character and finish him off. Interesting that that teenage girl is one of the Wonder Girls!

  11. Even South-East Asia has caught up with the zombie craze. One of my friends invited me to watch Train to Busan this week. I had to pass – I’m no fan of zombie apocalypse movies myself. My friend watched anyways and she said that Train to Busan was so scary & she enjoyed the film.

  12. For a zombie movie to get a rating of 4.75 out of 5, then it must be really good! This movie reminds me of another movie, Resident Evil (because of the zombie theme). I was struck by what you said about how sometimes humans can be scarier than zombies. I agree. I guess it’s because zombies have no control about what they’re doing. But when humans intentionally do evil things, I can just imagine how dark their hearts are … and that’s scary.

  13. This movie, looking at your review, it reminds me of an anime called Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. And I like the concept that the zombie attack is limited at the train as the location. I have yet to watch this movie and I can’t wait to actually watch it on the big screen.

  14. watched this and i felt it’s like setting world war z in snowpiercer. didn’t think the movie lived up to its hype. at the end of the day you just have tons of qns left unanswered. how did the virus actually break out? all we know was that it was the works of some bio-pharmaceutical (??) company that’s under the funding of Gong Yoo’s character’s company, and it probably started with the deer? And since there were articles stating Seoul Station is the prequel and in Seoul Station, the Zombie Zero is actually a homeless elderly man? So how did the deer and the elderly man link up? It was mentioned only Busan managed to fend off the zombies, but what’s next? The movie’s ending is also pretty depressing, with only 2 survivors in the end. And I’m thinking the director intentionally made the pregnant and the young survive to bring the idea across, that in difficult times, people will still step up to protect those who needs help (the weak)?
    And i really wonder if su an managed to find her mother in Busan.

    1. Hey Mia, from what I understand, the virus which originates from the bio-company is transmitted by blood. It didn’t start with the deer, the deer is a representative of the symptoms of the virus and how it is transmitted (if you noticed how the deer is injured).

      The Seoul Station animation is a prequel, which means by the time it reaches “Train to Busan”, the news (riots etc) have been spreading, and the virus has already gone viral and unstoppable.

      The open ended ending is left in a way where there’s sequels…

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