Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)

SANG-HO YEON

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

Original Title: Train To Busan 2

, 2020. , . Screenplay by Sang-ho Yeon, . Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Film Editing by . Cannes Film Festival 2020.

Billed as a sequel to Train To Busan, this one takes place within a similar world but doesn’t share characters with the original.  Korea is off limits to the rest of the world thanks to the breakout of a zombie virus that has turned the place into a post-apocalyptic dead zone.  There are a few uninfected survivors living in China and treated as second-class citizens, and four of them get the opportunity to improve their lot when they are hired by some shady guys to go back across the quarantine border and retrieve a payload of cash that is hidden in a truck.  It’s not the simple recovery mission that they were expecting, even when you factor in their expectation to have to protect themselves from hordes of the undead.  Within this now surreal, desolate world are not only flesh-eating zombies but a score of human survivors whose military affiliation has been perverted into a kind of bloodsport cult that sees them hosting Beyond Thunderdome-style games pitting their prisoners against zombies.  One small family of relatively sane humans has also survived, and they turn out to have a connection with the film’s lead hero , who has regrets about a choice he made for survival when initially fleeing the country in terror.  It has a clean, tight plot and committed performers but if you’re not already keyed into this genre you won’t be turned, the film is adequate but not inspiring and will work best for those who love a pure action movie whose narrative is mainly there to set up lengthy sequences of violence.   Gang makes for a sympathetic lead, convincing in the role’s physical requirements while projecting a great deal of emotional depth, but it feels like wasted effort considering that director Sang-ho Yeon is really only interested in the more complicated dazzle of the mayhem he creates; the computer-graphic imagery isn’t always successful, however, and the film ends up relying on the quality of human interaction far more than it wants to believe it needs to.

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