TRAIN TO BUSAN is a must watch South Korean zombie film!

Train To Busan Movie Poster (Philippines)

Train To Busan Movie Poster (Philippines)

If you want to just relax and enjoy an exciting movie with family or friends and you don’t mind a little blood, then you might really enjoy TRAIN TO BUSAN. When my best friend and I watched this movie, it felt like we were riding a roller coaster, complete with the screaming and excited shouting from the crowd. Emotions throughout the movie were also like a roller coaster, one moment everyone is celebrating their safety, the next minute, everything’s in havoc and everybody is running.

rollercoaster

Despicable Me GIF From Giphy

Normally, it irritates me when other people are loudly reacting to a movie (to the point I could no longer concentrate) but this was definitely an exception. In fact, I was even guilty of screaming either because I was actually surprised or it just felt good to scream because most of the scenes were chase scenes. I noticed how most people were totally into the film because of the chorus of screams, clapping and laughing going on in almost all parts of the movie after the father and daughter reached the train station. Honestly, it was a very enjoyable movie to watch and I would recommend that you watch it too and here’s why:

1.) IT IS WELL DIRECTED. It’s been quite a while since the last good zombie movie. There are a lot of scenes in Train to Busan that will literally put you at the edge of your seat. There are some elements of surprise but most of them come naturally and not forced (there wasn’t much change in music nor any overreaction over something). The acting was believable, there seems to be something lacking in terms of character development but the fast-paced sequences will more than make-up for it.

train to busan - joysofasia

Train to Busan GIF – from Trailer

The zombie scenes aren’t exaggerated and they were scary even with little or no prosthetic on because the makeup, smears of blood, white contact lenses and the way they seem to be really good contortionists seems to be enough to convince us that they were really terrifying. The zombies looked like they came from Asian horror movies rather than from the usual Western Zombie movies. Also, there wasn’t an absurd amount of blood present in the film considering this was a Zombie movie. This could be a good thing for those who don’t like seeing blood and a bad thing for those who look forward to seeing gory scenes.

zombie1

2.) STORY LINE  IS SIMPLE & IT’S BEST WATCHED WITH A CROWD. Train to Busan’s story is very simple and there are no confusing twists or unrealistic solutions. In fact, it was easy to predict the ending but I still enjoyed the ride towards the ending. The movie doesn’t force us to figure something out on our own and it isn’t confusing as to what the characters would do next so it was easier to connect with the characters and to envision yourself as part of the people in the train.

train to busan - joysofasia28

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

You feel part of the group, maybe that’s why a lot of people were screaming whenever there’s a chase scene. I even overheard people commenting that they felt the zombies were chasing them so they screamed.

Honestly, there are a lot of moments like that which made the movie better watched in your local cinema rather than wait for the DVD version. The natural reactions and intensity from the crowd felt like we were watching a heated fight between Pacquiao and a Mexican fighter. Notice how it’s more enjoyable watching with a lot of cheers and shouting from the crowd rather than watching alone on your TV. That’s how I analyze it so yeah, you better watch it in your local cinema to fully enjoy the movie. And just a tip, you might not be able to eat inside the cinema because you might not be able to take your eyes away from the movie screen. Same goes with restroom breaks because the phasing of the movie is pretty fast so you might miss something important.

3.) IT MIXES A LOT OF THINGS FROM OTHER MOVIES AND GAMES YET HAS A BRAND OF ITS OWN. It has a lot of components from other movies which was perhaps part of the inspiration and motivation the writers had while doing the script. Of course, people would compare it with “World War Z” because it’s considered as one of the best zombie films to date and the most notable similar thing they had was the speed of the zombies.

wwz

World War Z Zombies

The zombies in both films are fast and agile so unlike their other zombie movie counterparts, an encounter with a group of zombies in Train to Busan would always turn out to be intense and heart-stopping.

Mist

Screencap of The Mist

There was a little bit of the movie, “The Mist” because there was a scene where the survivors grouped into two and one of them pressured the majority to do something terrible. The scene was downplayed a little but the effect was the same.

train to busan - joysofasia13

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

There was also an element of “Snakes on a plane” wherein claustrophobic folks would definitely not like the idea of being in a train with nowhere to run and trouble sprouting at every corner. Snakes are probably better than zombies though.

Snakes On A Plane

Snakes On A Plane Screen Cap

The formula for most zombie movies and games was followed. I think I saw some elements of WALKING DEAD (the game) to some scenes in the movie.

The Walking Dead game

The Walking Dead game

Other elements from zombie movies were also present. One main actor (who may or may not die), one innocent child, a strong person other than the main actor, lots of sacrificial lambs who were bit by zombies and forced to have themselves eaten to give more time for others to escape or would use the remaining energy to save their loved ones and of course, a selfish antagonist prick who creates more problems due to his bad decisions or choices.

train to busan6 - joysofasia1

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

However, what’s different is they don’t put the focal point and don’t stress too much when something happens to a major character.

movie_image

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

What’s good about it is it feels more real rather than having endless cheesy moments and “award-winning hysterical cries” that are too cliche. When something happens, the affected character cries about it but don’t linger too much and move on to what needs to be done because after all, they are still being chased by zombies. Characters in Train to Busan run first, then cry later.

4.) ACTORS/ACTRESSES IN THE FILM. There were some characters that I wished could have put their acting skills up a notch but I’m generally happy with their acting in this film.  Some people are interested in the Train to Busan because of some of the characters in the film.

Some of you may remember Gong Yoo who plays the main character Seok-Woo in Train to Busan. That’s because he’s Choi Han-Gyul of Coffee Prince.

Promotional Image for Coffee Prince

Screen Cap of Coffee Prince

He played his role in Train to Busan quite well. I especially loved his performance near the ending of the movie because of the control he had of a scene that would normally be used by others so people would notice their crying prowess. His performance in that scene was subtle but very heart felt which was exactly what that scene needed.

movie_image (10)

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

Ma Dong-Seok played Sang-Hwa. I am not familiar with him before I watched Train to Busan but he was such a scene stealer (in a good way) because he immediately captured our attention. Others were impressed and even surprised when he took off his jacket and led the team towards safety. He provided some comic relief. There were a lot of times he saved the day so everyone was really cheering whenever he goes on screen. His character was a little too straight-forward and unlikable in the beginning but he warmed up and became one of our favorites as the story progressed.

train to busan - joysofasia18

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

Jung Yu-Mi who played the role of Sung-Gyeong, Sang-Hwa’s pregnant wife acted pretty well. She and the very young Kim Soo-Ahn who played the role of Soo-An, Seok-Woo’s daughter. Both provided the drama the movie needed.

The “crying” moments though are heartfelt, sincere and very well done.

train to busan - joysofasia.com2

Train to Busan GIF – from Trailer

Another familiar face is Choi Woo-Sik who plays Young-Gook, a member of the baseball team and the love interest of Jin-Hee. You’ll probably recognize him from Fated to Love You and Rooftop Prince.

Fated to Love you

Choi Woo-Sik as Lee Yong (Lee Gun’s stepbrother) – Fated to Love you

Rooftop

Choi Woo-Sik as Do Chi-San – Rooftop Prince

Ahn So-hie played the role of Jin-Hee. You’ll probably remember her as the former member of Wonder Girls.

Wonder-Girls

Ahn So-hie (2nd from left) was a former member of Wonder Girls

She also displayed a great acting prowess when she was prevented by others from doing something for Young-Gook.

movie_image (14)

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

Our blood did boil for Kim Eui-Sung, which proves he’s an effective actor.

movie_image (8)

Promotional Image for Train to Busan

If there was something I didn’t like about the film, it’s the anticlimactic finale, wherein the whole thing ended so abruptly when the audience (including me), actually wanted more. Come to think of it, that was actually a good sign that we really enjoyed watching the movie enough to care what happens to the characters who survived the whole ordeal.

5.) A LOT OF HEART STOPPING CHASE SCENES.

train to busan - joysofasia.com

Train to Busan GIF – from Trailer

The chase scenes populated most of the movie but it was what made it effective I think. As mentioned already, it felt like riding a roller coaster because there were a lot of moments wherein you hold your breath and even more moments when you can’t help but scream.

How scary was the movie, TRAIN TO BUSAN? If I would rate its scariness factor it would be around 3 out of 5. It doesn’t have the nightmare inducing kind of scariness but the I-hope-they-make-it-out-alive kind.

Also, in case you’re wondering, MTRCB rating is R-16, which means only viewers 16 years old and above will be permitted inside the cinema.

mtrcb train to busan R-16

screenshot of MTRCB rating for Train To Busan

I’m still a little confused though because most cinemas used R-13 for the rating when it started running in cinemas last September 1, so check out your local cinemas online before going with your family to watch it to avoid disappointments.

R-13 train to busan

Screenshot of Train To Busan poster on sureseats.com (Ayala Malls)

If you’re really jumpy (like me), you’ll love the chase scenes and the Asian-horror themed zombies. The graphics were really impressive considering they only had about $182,000 budget for this. That’s just a speck or approximately .09% of World War Z’s $190M Budget. Overall, because of its entertainment value (which is why we watch movies in the first place), I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely encourage others to watch this movie. Enjoy! 🙂 #TrainToBusan #KoreanHorrorMovie #Zombies #Zombie

Train to Busan Movie Poster