July 23rd, 2016



No valid json found

Release Year: 2016

Rating: 7.5/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Stars: Yoo Gong, Dong-seok Ma, Woo-sik Choi

Sok-woo and his daughter Soo-ahn are boarding the KTX, a fast train that shall bring them from Seoul to Busan. But right at the moment of their departure, the train station is overrun by zombies which kill the train driver and several others. While the KTX is shooting driver-less to Busan, the passengers have to fight for their naked lives against the zombies.

Yoo Gong - Seok Woo
Dong-seok Ma - Sang Hwa
Woo-sik Choi - Young Gook
Yu-mi Jeong - Sung Gyeong
Sohee - Jin-hee (as Ahn So-hee)
Kim Soo-ahn - Soo-an


Official Website: Cannes Film Festival's facebook | Cannes Film Festival's website |

Country: South Korea

Language: Korean

Release Date: 3 Jan 2016

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Director Yeon's first live-action film. He was animation film director. See more »

User Review


Rating: 7/10

With such a high presence in both TV and film, zombies are becoming over used. Our fascination with them seems to quickly be coming to a close, so it takes something special to stand out. First time live action director, Sang-ho Yeon, has managed to craft a unique take on the undead by placing them on a train and adding a few things to their mythology. Despite underdeveloped characters and an overly sentimental final act, Train to Busan delivers a fresh take on the zombie movement that contains some extremely memorable set pieces.

The story revolves around a father who is taking his daughter to see his ex-wife. Yoo Gong plays the typical father who is more concerned with work than with family and does not always put people as his top priority. His daughter is the typical kid who knows how important other people are and always tries to do the right thing. This is where the film really falters. The characters fit perfectly into stereotypical roles and never feel like anything other than placeholders. There is the typical villain who never seems to die, the typical female characters who must rely on the men, and the group of people who blindly follow orders. There is one excretion however. During the train ride, the father and daughter encounter a couple with a child on the way. The man in this relationship is charismatic, charming, and above all, badass. When everything is about to go down, he is quick to suit up and prepare for a fight. This is the one character in the entire film that stands out and quickly becomes the reason you root for the characters to make it out.

There is also an incredibly emotional scene involving this character that really hits hard. The build up to the scene works well and because we are so attached to him, anytime he is at risk the stakes are raised. The scene is effective and almost brought tears to my eyes. This scene should have been the emotional climax of the film. Unfortunately the film goes on for about 30 more minutes and involves another emotional moment with the main character. This second scene however is not effective at all. Through flashbacks and an awkward script, the scene becomes cheesy and at a certain point comical. It didn't work and really took away from the previous emotional climax.

Typical of the zombie genre, the film does contain a social critique. Similar to Snowpiercer, the film uses its setting to comment on the class system and the social order we fall into. The businessman is ultimately the boss as he is superior in pedigree and it is up to everyone else to follow him or be cast aside. Additionally his character perfectly aligns with the dog eat dog world we live in today as he uses others for his own advantage. As he throws people to the wayside, literally to be devoured by those around them, it is clear the point that is being made.

Also borrowing from another film, the zombies here are fast. Just like in World War Z, they act like swarms of insects as they barrel through doorways and windows creating a sense of urgency slower zombies often fail to establish. They also look great. There are a few moments when they all swarm together, where it is clear CGI was used, but for the most part they used practical effects. The zombies move with disjointed, quick movements that make them very terrifying. It is almost painful to watch them contort their bodies as they converge on their victims.

The real unique characteristic though is that they cannot see well in the dark. This trait provides the basis for a number of intense set pieces as characters use sounds to mislead the zombies and navigate the claustrophobic setting from train car to train car.

Another great set piece involves the characters getting off the train. It appears as though they have reached a safe zone, but once they realize that they are mistaken, it becomes a race to get back on the train. Characters are killed, people are injured, and bonds are formed as people realize how much they need each other to survive. It is a nice diversion from what we have seen so far and gives the audience something different, yet equally intense, so the action doesn't get repetitive.

In the end however, the film does fail to keep us engaged. In the last 30 minutes, the film really starts to drag. The action is not as effective and then builds up to the disappointing emotional climax mentioned earlier. At this point, I just wanted our characters to reach safety, or die already. The very last scene however does work well. In a film filled with brutal action, it was nice to end on a heart-warming moment.

Train to Busan (2016) Directed by: Sang-ho Yeon Screenplay by: Sang-ho Yeon Starring: Yoo Gong, Dong-seok Ma, and Woo-sik Choi Run Time: 1 hour 58 minutes


Comments are closed.