When Train To Busan crashed into cinemas a few years back, the zombie genre received a refreshing – and successful – shot in the arm.

Kinetic, but with plenty of emotion to boot, the South Korean flick lapped up the plaudits across the globe – and rightly so.

Little wonder then that we get a follow-up four years on, but sadly Train To Busan: Peninsula proves one of those ‘cash grab’ sequels – entertaining enough, but with nothing new to add or say really.

In fact, you could make a case that it exists as a standalone film, shoving the prefix on the title to try and eke out a bit more publicity and coverage.

The set-up is simple – Korea is now ravaged by the virus outbreak, leading to the country being quarantined, with no one allowed in or out.

That is not quite the case for Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) though, who after escaping the carnage in the film’s opening sequence (which is set at the time of the original film), is forced to head back into Seoul at the behest of some goons.

The reason? A truck containing $20 million, left in Seoul as the crowds fled to try and make it to Hong Kong.

The mission for Jung-seok is simple – head back to Korea in clandestine fashion, locate the truck, and then head to Incheon port to get his ass out of there, whereupon the heavies will split the cash with him.

All sounds good, although there is a slight problem, namely that the city is overrun by zombie hordes, as well as militarised gangs who treat the desolate streets as their own personal battleground.

Oh, and Jung-seok will come across a family that he callously refused to help escape when he originally made it out of the country…

Peninsula riffs on so many films that you will probably spend most of the two-hour running time muttering ‘that reminds me of…’ – we get Land of the Dead, Escape From New York and even the likes of Mad Max referenced in some shape or form – often overtly so.

The action works, and director Yeon Sang-go keeps things moving at a frantic pace, although an over-reliance on pesky CGI in some of the car chase sequences is annoying.

The zombies are vicious enough, although precious little time is spent on gut-munching, with the film eager to move on to the next set piece.

One thing there is though is emotion – too much of it in fact. We get slow-motion reactions, supposedly beloved characters being killed off and plenty of music clearly designed to tug at the heartstrings. The whole thing is ladled on so thick though that it comes off as being corny.

On the performances front Gang Dong-won is just fine as the lead, although his ability to avoid injury and fight off both the zombie horde and the armed pursuers stretches credibility at times. Faring better is Lee Jung-hyun as young mother Ming-jung, who is most definitely determined to go down all guns blazing if necessary.

Train To Busan: Peninsula certainly ticks a lot of the right boxes, and the relentless action offers little time to be bored, but you are left with the strong feeling that this should have been so much better.

Movie Review: Train To Busan - Peninsula
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle