Monday With Mildred: “Train to Busan: Peninsula”

Train to Busan: Peninsula movie poster

This is a Zombie World Tour post!

Time to Celebrate!!!

This marks Mildred’s 300th Review!

Train to Busan: Peninsula

So, yeah, this is my 300th review for Chick Flicking Reviews. Back in 2014 CFR shamelessly peered over my shoulder to read an email I had just written to my Horror List email group about a movie I had just seen. She asked if she could post it on her blog and I innocently acquiesced. Somehow, that turned into a weekly gig (more or less) and here we are at 300. I had intended to do something grand to celebrate, but nothing good came to mind, so I went back to what I used to really love early in my CFR career. Zombies are my all time favorite monsters, and for a few years I went all over the world sampling the best and worst it had to offer. Some were great, like Train to Busan (South Korea), and some were so, so, SO bad (Wales and Greece). Instead of something grand and new, here is me being sentimental and going back to South Korea for the sequel to one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen. I love writing reviews for y’all, and I know at least some of you really appreciate my efforts. So, cheers, and enjoy the latest Zombie World Tour.

The very opening moments of this movie reminds you what the zombie apocalypse would be all about: terrible choices over who will live and who will die. An Army officer’s choice, when confronted with the frenzied pleas of a mother and her infant as he tries to drive his immediate family to safety aboard a “safe” military ship turns quickly to crap, and then we catch up with him and other refugees years later in Hong Kong. He’s messed up. His brother in law is more messed up. They throw in with some criminals who promise them and a couple of others a huge payday if they go back to ground zero and bring back a truck load of money.

It’s a heist movie! My second favorite genre! It’s like supermarkets on steroids. (zombie movie joke) The Army guy, his brother-in-law and other saps are dropped off in Inchon, which is supposed to look like “ruin porn” ala The Girl with All the Gifts, but it’s simply not as good. It’s obviously cgi. There’s a ton of obvious cgi in this film, which is really too bad. There are some really nice moments, like a sudden bit of moonlight revealing a danger that is paid off much later in the film. The writing seems to be more clever than the actual production, which is terribly ambitious. In some ways this is paid off. The acting is top notch all the way around, and the close in art direction is a wonder. When this slam bang roller coaster gets going, though, the film is still fun but seriously weaker than its predecessor. The plot rolls along smoothly for a while, then stalls while characters are forced to indulge their inner violence geek. When it gets going again, it goes way too fast and we’re forced to watch.

Basically, Train to Busan was a simple zombie film, and Train to Busan: Penninsula is an action adventure zombie film. The second one never works. Ever. Zombies are a monster that exposes the weaknesses of the human condition. Trying to shoehorn that message onto a slam bang extended version of Fast and Furious meets Grand Theft Auto meets a touch of Escape from New York just doesn’t work. It’s loud and frenetic, and any deeper messages are lost.

All that said, I actually enjoyed a lot of what was on offer. The movie isn’t awful, as a lot of people have said. It just doesn’t quite work. If you’re a fan of ridiculous car chases, you’ll enjoy this quite a bit. If you don’t mind gender non-conforming heroes working with snarky, gifted children to save the day, then you will probably enjoy this. I’m a fan of heist movies, so I didn’t mind them mucking up the zombie stuff a bit. It’s some mindless fun with a bunch of actors punching above their weight in a fun setting. You should see this movie. Just don’t pair it with the original because they couldn’t be more different and you might not enjoy it as you should.


CFR: In Addition: You may have noticed that this blog would not be what it is without Mildred. She is phenomenal. I am indebted to her in ways I cannot explain. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mildred for your wonderful, fabulous, Mondays. And all the other days too.

2 responses to “Monday With Mildred: “Train to Busan: Peninsula”

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