[MOVIE REVIEW] Train to Busan (부산행)

I was so late, I know.

It was probably in July the hype for this movie arose in  the country where the movie was produced, South Korea. As someone who is quite updated about its pop culture, all I knew is that this movie is a zombie movie. And, as what my friends said, it was terrific.

I have never been a fan of zombies-related movie. The last time I tried to watch “I am Legend”, I couldn’t get myself watch the movie until the end. Also, when most of my college friends become “The Walking Dead” enthusiasts, I’m not interested to check the series out, not even a single episode of it. I might sound so boring at this point, haha.

Honestly, I’ve been retiring from watching any horror and thriller movies since long time ago. It just struck me one day that what’s the point of watching those movies when I couldn’t even enjoy it fully. What’s the point of watching it when half of the movie, I will close my eyes and my ears. Haha. Call me a scaredy-cat, but I will just take what I could take. 😁

Thus, when this movie was hyped up anywhere, including my country, I was still not interested to watch it. Until it was on last Monday, when one of my students told me excitedly her experience of watching the movie. She even gave me spoilers. Thanks to her, that night, I decided to watch the movie after halting it for so many times.

So, how was the movie?

For someone who is neither a fans of zombies movie nor likes to watch zombies movie, this movie is simply a great movie. The plot was focused and delivering and it also persuades the audience, especially me, to feel the tense and the frustration depicted in the movie.

As the title sugests, “Train to Busan” has a clear plot focus from the beginning to the end. The story simply focuses on how the survivors in the train make their way to Busan to save their lives from the zombie outbreaks happening in the country, which unfortunately got spread to the passangers in the train too.

The plot of the story doesn’t go astray even though if the movie wants, it has many chances to develop other side stories. But, no. You will only get what you paid for the title, and that’s good. As a critic from The New York Times said, “Often chaotic but never disorienting…”, the story consistently revolves around Seok Woo, a divorced fund manager and also a father of Soo An, who struggles to bring his daughter to Busan, in which the place where Soo An’s mother lives. At first, you will feel how frustrating to see how selfish Sook Woo is, regardless his handsome and hot papa vibe haha. Fortunately, he is a dynamic character who will develop to be a better character when he later meets the other characters, like Sang Hwa and his wife Seong Kyeong, the baseball player Yong Guk and his girlfriend Jin Hee, and a homeless man. They will later cooperate to save each other from zombies until they can reach Busan, where a safe quarantine zone has been successfully established. As simply as the focus of the story, the movie is enjoyable and entertaining as well.

Not only feeling the tense and the thrill, you will also wonder about the nature of human beings served in the movie. This movie doesn’t only emphasize the zombie-ness aspects but also philosophical and social aspects of the character. The development of the characters is well-written and easily becomes the key of engaging the audiences.

That is what I love the most from the movie. Every main character is given their own distinctive personality. That is relatable to how human nature actually works in emergency situation. There are characters who are willingly to be helpful for others from the start to the end. There are also characters who are selfish from the start to the end. Lastly, there are also characters who positively change from the selfish ones to be the helpful and considerate ones. This reminds me to a saying I heard the other day, “You will know and see the real character of human being when s/he in the state of danger or emergency.” 

Although somehow it is really frustrating for me to watch the character who is very dedicated being selfish without any break in the movie, I know that it can be a reality. It is plausible. I believe each and every human being living on the earth has that selfish side. It’s just the proportion of the selfishness that differs from one person to another. So, if I could give “the most selfish character ever” award for one character, I really want to give it to the COO Yon Suk. Wow! I give my biggest applause for his selfishness. He throws other people under the bus for saving himself without hesitation, exactly from the start when his character is introduced to the last seconds his character is finished. What a dedication! Just when I was happy thinking I wouldn’t have to see his face in the last couples of minutes of the movie, he appeared again bursting my happy bubbles.

Sadly, Yoon Suk is probably just an example of a small fish in a big pond where other selfish people eat each other just for securing themselves. That’s human in reality nowadays, sadly.

Other than the bad Yoon Suk, we will also be introduced to the In Gil and Jong Gil siblings. They are middle-age sisters who seem loving and taking care of each other so well, especially Jong Gil who seem to sacrifice a lot for other people. Even when she changes to be a zombie, she still looks like a nice zombie haha. Nice people will always look different, yup! 😁

This movie is entertaining yet frustrating at the same time haha. My heart still beats faster than it should be for half of an hour after I finished watching it. I don’t recommed you to watch the movie with your grandparents hehe. And a little bit spoiler, the ending is somehow not like what you probably want or expect. However it’s safe to say that it is still a happy ending with a little tragic and sad touch.

So, will I recommend this movie to other people?

Yes. I definity will. Especially for those zombie-movies lovers and enthusiats. This movie is probably not that zombie compared to other zombie movies out there but it gives you more than zombie to enjoy and to think about.

As much as I love this movie, this movie indeed has flaws too. I saw how this movie is said to owe “World War Z” a lot. I tried to watch some chunks of “World War Z”, then yea I found some of the shots from “Train to Busan” look similar to “World War Z”. Yet, I don’t think I will give “World War Z” a try to watch, hehe. Sorry Brad Pitt, you are hot and all but enough zombies for me before I start freaking out over zombies in my real life.

Another funny thing is when my another student discussed the movie with me this afternoon. She pointed out how a pregnant woman, who is Seong Kyeong, can run here and there without so much problems. Haha. As an unknowledgable and unexperienced woman who has never been pregnant, I could only say, “Well, that’s a movie after all, dear.”

Regardless, this movie is still worth a watch since it generally received favorable reviews and ratings from variety of sites like IMDb, Metacritic and Times of India. I myself will probably rate this movie 8 out of 10.

So, where can I watch the movie?

This movie was released in July in Korea, and one or two months later in other countries. In my country, Indonesia, this movie was released last month if I’m not mistaken. Also, it was not released to all cinemas, like XXI. It was limitedly released in certain cinema, like Blitz Megaplex, and I don’t know if this movie is still on play in cinemas or not. So, you should check it out yourself to know it hehe. I myself watch it online, since I saw it is already available on online sites, with English subtitles too. You can already download it too, I guess.

So, in case you want to have some spoilers from this movie, you can read from its Wikipedia page. But trust me, you will not regret your 118 minutes you spent after watching the movie. Or at least for me hehe. If you find this movie disappointing, then at least we can agree that Gong Yoo looks handsome and hot here. Haha. Anyway, here are the official trailers of the movie:

Trailer 1

Trailer 2

And, here is one of the posters released for the movie. So, have a good watching experience  🙂

images