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Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

  • Film
Photograph: Courtesy Edko Films Ltd.

Time Out says

Things get generic fast in this pedestrian sequel to the zombie hit.

The first ‘Train to Busan’ film was a breakneck Korean horror that had an army of sprinting zombies overwhelming a commuter train in bloody increments. The undead moved fast and the film moved even faster, putting meat on the bones of its characters and then stripping it off again in a variety of gruesome ways. It made you feel not quite so bad about your daily commute (back in the days when we had one).

Disappointingly, director Yeon Sang-ho has followed up that express-paced simplicity with a more generic men-(and-women)-on-a-mission movie that lacks the sweaty intensity of its predecessor. If ‘Train to Busan’ charted the unfolding apocalypse, ‘Peninsula is set in the post-apocalyptic part with the Korean peninsula blockaded to keep the zombies hemmed in. Or maybe to keep these thinly-sketched characters out. 

Peninsula sends a motley crew back to a trashed, zombie-riddled Korea. The plan? To recover $20 million in abandoned cash – as quietly as possible. Our hero is Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), an army officer still stewing over his failure to save his family four years earlier. He has the most interesting motivation, which says everything you need to know about the forgettable band sent in to negotiate in this cityscape of abandoned cars, roaming zombies and rogue militia units. 

It's all very ‘Escape from New York’-lite, only with no Snake Plissken to be iconic in the slow bits. Gone is the barbed subtext that elevated ‘Train to Busan’ – its chewy critique of the capitalist wage-slave grind – that gave it brains to go with all the braaaaains. Alongside its breakneck thrills, this one is a bit of a slog. 

In UK cinemas Nov 6.

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Cast and crew

  • Director:Sang-ho Yeon
  • Cast:
    • Dong-won Kang
    • Jung-Hyun Lee
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