Divorced workaholic Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) hasn’t been the best of fathers lately, choosing the office over his daughter Su-an’s (Kim Su-an) recital and buying her the same game console for her birthday that he bought her the year before. So when he offers her anything she wants for her birthday and she asks to visit her estranged mother in the Southern port city of Busan, he reluctantly agrees. 

Boarding the bullet train in Seoul amid reports of random violence and rioting, they join a disparate group of travelers; a tough working class guy and his heavily pregnant wife (Ma Dong-seok and Jung Yu-mi), a teenage high school hockey team (Choi Woo-sik and Ahn So-hee), an arrogant CEO (Kim Eui-sung) and a homeless man (Choi Gwi-hwa). 

But the violence engulfing the city is no ordinary rioting – it’s a full on zombie apocalypse and an infected victim just boarded the train… 

As propulsive, thrilling and viscerally exciting as you’d expect from the pitch “zombies on a train,” The King Of Pigs writer/director Yeon Sang-ho’s first live action feature, a companion piece to his animated zombie flick Seoul Station which serves as a prequel, Train To Busan doesn’t disappoint delivering tense, meaty, edge-of-the-seat action along with Snowpiercer-style social commentary, the passengers dividing and turning on each other according to Korea’s rigid class structure. 

Opening with a zombie deer, that’s right, A ZOMBIE DEER, Train To Busan puts the pedal to the metal as soon as it leaves the station and never lets up, the claustrophobic train environment focusing and heightening the threat as class warfare erupts and passengers battle the undead, Yoo’s selfish salaryman forced to evolve and redeem himself, inspired by the sacrifice of his fellow passengers, the film practically a metaphor for the financial crash, scathing in it’s jaundiced view of the dog-eat-dog corporate culture, preaching a message of tolerance and cooperation, the film’s true villain of course being the practically sociopathic CEO in first class, willing to sacrifice everyone around him. 

Brutal, violent and almost impossibly exhilarating, Train To Busan is off-the-rails pure entertainment.

DVD Review: Train To Busan
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