Train to Busan

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I will begin this review by stating that I’m not a huge fan of zombie films. I find most of them to be empty, soulless gorefests that exist for the sole purpose of watching zombies kill people and vice versa.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised by Train to Busan.

Where most zombie films feature empty characters that are nothing more than a buffet for the zombies, Train to Busan actively makes the viewer care for the protagonists. I held my breath for the majority of the film, hoping that the core group would make it to the end of the movie alive. The hardest blow was when Sang-hwa (Dong-seok Ma) got bitten and used his final moments to save everyone else.

On top of the zombies, Train to Busan examines what happens to people in the face of a crisis. Some retain their morality and humanity, doing everything they can to save whoever they can. Others, like Yon-suk (Eui-sung Kim), will stop at nothing to save their own lives – even if that means literally sacrificing other people. Where I was desperately hoping that Sang-hwa would survive, I vehemently wanted to see Yon-suk meet a deservedly brutal end.

The thing that most surprised me was the character development shown in the main protagonist, Seok-woo (Yoo Gong). The change in his personality made the final sequence of the movie even more emotionally impactful.

Overall, I would have to say that Train to Busan is my favorite zombie movie to date. It’s probably shocking to some but, given the things that I look for in movies, it shouldn’t be surprising. Buckets of blood are replaced by emotional sequences, and a one-dimensional zombie smorgasbord is supplanted by a cast of characters that the viewer can genuinely care for.

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