Although it lacks the layers evident in Yeon’s acclaimed animations (including the thematically-linked Seoul Station), this is still an entertaining ride, as well as providing political commentary when it overtly references the Korean government’s response to the MERS virus alongside commenting on the country’s class system.
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The most purely entertaining zombie film in some time.
For almost 45 minutes, Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan is on pace to become the best, most urgent zombie movie since “28 Days Later.” And then — at once both figuratively and literally — this broad Korean blockbuster derails in slow-motion, sliding off the tracks and bursting into a hot mess of generic moments and digital fire.
When divorced of message-mongering, the film’s scare tactics are among the most distinctive that the zombie canon has ever seen.
Often chaotic but never disorienting, the movie’s spirited set pieces — like a wriggling ribbon of undead clinging doggedly to the last compartment — owe much to Lee Hyung-deok’s wonderfully agile cinematography.
Train to Busan pulses with relentless locomotive momentum. As an allegory of class rebellion and moral polarization, it proves just as biting as Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi dystopia “Snowpiercer,” while delivering even more unpretentious fun.
It’s another well-made, culturally specific zombie film, but it could have been something much more filling.
Best of all, the story moves as fast as that bullet train, careening from one impossible predicament to the next while the characters jostle to survive.
The key to the fun is that Yeon eschews lookie-loo gore for thrilling set pieces: his fleet, imaginative action scenes recall Brad Bird’s crisp transition to real people in peril when he made his “Mission Impossible” movie.
Yeon's patient direction and clever plot twists make Seok-woo's transformation from selfish antihero into brave caregiver consistently compelling.