28th Oct2020

‘Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Dong-Won Gang, Jung-hyun Lee, Re Lee, Hae-hyo Kwon, Min-Jae Kim, Gyo-hwan Koo, Do-Yoon Kim, Ye-Won Lee | Written by Sang-ho Yeon, Ryu Yong-jae | Directed by Sang-ho Yeon

When Train to Busan arrived on the movie scene it was just what the zombie sub genre needed. A focus on a father protecting his daughter from an onslaught of zombies on a train brought heart and was instantly loved by many horror fans. With Peninsula, can lightening strike twice? The answer is… it depends on what you are wanting from the movie!

Four years after the zombie outbreak, a small group of Koreans return to their homeland to track down a truck containing 20 million US dollars. When things inevitably go wrong, Jung Seok (Dong-Won Gang) finds a chance to right a wrong from his past.

If you go into Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula expecting more of the same from the previous film, then you may be slightly disappointed. What this movie brings is a mash up of popular films such as Fast and Furious, and Mad Max in an explosive experience, that also has a little bit of heart too.

As you would expect, four years of zombie infestation has created an apocalyptic city that is ripe for plenty of action, and plenty of chases. What Peninsula reminded me of was the likes of Escape from New York and Neil Marshall’s Doomsday, and for me it succeeds in what it wants to be. There is even a feel of Day of the Dead with a gang who have more of a focus on terrorising the living rather than helping them survive against the zombies.

Where Peninsula actually engages the audience though is the group of survivors who help Jung Seok survive and strive to find a way to escape to the outside world. Of course, the cynical side of me does think that making this a young family, and one that the character has encountered in the past, is just trying to create the emotional bond we saw in Train to Busan. The truth is though, even if this is the case, I don’t care. I actually liked the friendship that built up there.

What writer and director Sang-ho Yeon has done with Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is create a film that brings the same heart as Train to Busan, but also widens the audience. Where the previous movie is more about the relationship between daughter and father, Peninsula is very much about action, and it doesn’t hide it. One thing that does stand out though, is that the movie is very dependent on visual FX; and at times this is very obvious. This doesn’t detract though from the high-octane car chases, the zombie battles and gunfights, but for those who don’t find what they are looking for in this movie, it will obviously stand out more to them.

I went into Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula looking for a fun movie, that lived up to the trailer we were presented with when the film was announced. I’d have loved for it to be another Train to Busan, but it doesn’t quite live up to that. What we get though is a fun action movie that does have heart, and if we want another Train to Busan? Well we can re-watch the original.

**** 4/5

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is having special previews over the Halloween weekend before being released in cinemas in the UK November 6th. It will then be available on DVD and Blu-ray from November 30th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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