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Train to Busan: Movie Review

If you're familiar with "The Walking Dead" the video game, "Train to Busan" feels very similar to it. That video game is known for its very human and heartfelt take on the genre focusing more on human relationships than the undead. In a similar vein, "Train to Busan" showed us that not all zombie flicks should just be about the killing and the gore but more on how humans react, interact and affect each one once things turn into a shit storm.
Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager who is in the middle of a divorce. Due to his work, he barely has time for his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) and the two have a very strained relationship with Su-an wishing to be with her mother. As fate would have it, it is her birthday the next day and Su-an reveals that she wants to visit her mother in Busan. Seok-Woo reluctant at first but he decides to accompany his daughter in taking the express train bound for Busan the next morning. As the two board the train, all hell breaks loose as a "sick" passenger goes violent and every one who gets bitten goes rabid.
It is a rare feat in which a film fully develops its characters - including the support cast - but "Train to Busan" is able to do so with a streamlined story that focuses on human relationships than the undead. By the time the credits roll, every death is excruciatingly painful and every villain who stupendously doesn't get killed is immediately frustrating. "Train to Busan" will suck you in with likable and relatable protagonists and pain-to-the-ass villains. It will make you laugh and even cry. It's this to-and-fro with your emotions and the main characters that deviates the film from a very worn-out genre. This is also no thanks to great acting from most of the cast. The standout was Kim Su-an as the young daughter of our leading man and Ma Dong-seok as the comic relief and overall tough guy with a big heart. "Train to Busan" was also able to give the perfect balance of drama and silly action. Yes, the action was trippy at times as things really took a turn for the worse at every turn. But it didn't really hamper the film but more so, it kept the story moving at a brisk and relentless pace. The visuals were mostly great and we appreciated that it uses less CGI than the norm. While "Train to Busan" was not a genre-reviving film, it is an effective and refreshing zombie movie experience.
Rating: 4 and a half reels





Why you should watch it:
- this is a zombie film that works because it concentrates on its human characters more
- the action was perfectly silly to grab our attention

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the film lacks the usual gore you might expect from a zombie film
- the back story on why there is an outbreak is vague

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