Train to Busan (2016)

train to busan poster 2016 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good zombie thriller

A bit long

Movie Info

Movie Name: Train to Busan

Studio: Next Entertainment World

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  May 13, 2016 (Cannes)/July 20, 2016 (South Korea)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

train to busan zombie girl

Are you part of a “Thriller” flash-mob?

Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) finds he is failing as a father.  With no time for his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) and the inability to give her a meaningful gift for her birthday, Seok-woo finds himself on a train to Busan to deliver her to her mother.  When a zombie outbreak occurs due to a chemical leak, survival becomes key.  The train to Busan has been breached by zombies that are infecting and killing passengers and none of the cars may be safe for Seok-woo and his daughter.

Directed by Sang-ho Yeon, Train to Busan (부산행 or Busanhaeng) is a South Korean zombie horror-survival film.  The movie premiered at Cannes and was released to positive reviews and a strong box office.  An animated prequel Seoul Station was also released in 2016.

I had meant to watch Train to Busan for a while.  With foreign films, it is always a “sit down and watch” since I can’t understand what is going on if I’m only half paying attention to them.  While Train to Buscan really doesn’t offer much new in the zombie-genre, it is a strong entry that utilizes the films that came before it to make a solid picture.

train to busan ma dong seok gong yoo kim su an

Let’s get this party started!

The plot for Train to Busan feels like a blend of other movies make an original movie.  You have stories like Snowpiercer, Night of the Living Dead, and The Host influencing the story.  A father finds himself protecting his daughter and finding his strength and courage…it is woven together in a way that is taunt and suspenseful, and that is the best you can ask for in a zombie movie.

The cast is good.  Gong Yoo is the father torn between his work and his family and forced to make a big decision regarding his daughter to keep her alive.  Ma Dong-seok is good as the bruiser type character who is a survivor, but Choi Woo-shik and Sohee aren’t very relevant to the plot as the baseball player and his quasi-girlfriend.  Both character need more development.  Kim Eui-sung plays the cliché business man jerk who causes alt he problems and essentially is the downfall of most characters.  I also like Choi Gwi-hwa as a homeless man just fighting for survival.

train to busan gong yoo kim su an jung yu mi

You take me really crappy places for my birthday, Dad

The movie is tightly edited and just what you want from a zombie film.  The movie takes the popular “running” zombies instead of the lumbering zombies and that ratchets up the suspense and danger.  The movie feels big and exciting, but it also smartly contains most of the plot to the train cars…which is a great way to limit the budget.

Train to Busan is a fun entry in the zombie film genre though it is maybe a bit too long.  Some might pass it by since it is a foreign film (aka subtitles), but no one should sleep on the movie.  If you like horror and zombie movies, Train to Busan is a must.  The zombies are on the movie, and you have to catch this train.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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