Film Review: Train to Busan (2016)

Also known as: Busanhaeng (original title), Invasion Zombie (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay), New Infection: Final Express (Japan – English title)
Release Date: May 13th, 2016 (Cannes)
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Written by: Park Joo-suk
Music by: Jang Young-gyu
Cast: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee

Next Entertainment World, RedPeter Film, Movic Comics, 118 Minutes

Review:

“Sorry, but you’re infected.” – Seok Woo

Apparently, this South Korean zombie film came out with a lot of praise and fanfare but I guess it just passed me by. That’s honestly my fault, as I barely pay attention to modern horror, as it just hasn’t been up to snuff for about two decades now, despite the occasional gem.

Well, this is one of those gems and I even liked it considering that I am most definitely exhausted with zombie flicks since they have legitimately monopolized the horror space in more recent years after vampire films cooled off and The Walking Dead became the most watched thing on television.

This film’s plot is pretty damn simple; a dad and his daughter get on a train to take them across South Korea just as a zombie outbreak happens. While on the train, people get infected and all hell breaks loose.

As the film progresses, we go from survivors trying to stay barricaded in train cars with zombies just a car away, then we get a great sequence in a train station and eventually, back on another train, as the few people left try to escape the hell that is chasing them.

As far as zombie movies go, this one, by the end, is one of the most emotional and heartbreaking ones I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to spoil anything but if you get to the climax and don’t feel like you’ve been mule kicked in the heart, you might not be human.

Additionally, the character arc of the little girl’s father in this is fucking superb. The guy goes from being a selfish coward to a real hero, after being challenged by his own daughter and another passenger that continually risks his life to save this sap, even after he nearly sacrificed the guy and his pregnant wife.

This was just a solid, fast paced movie from beginning to end and I couldn’t believe that it was nearly two hours as it flew by like it was only 80 minutes.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other foreign zombie movies with fairly fresh takes on the genre.

Film Review: Yongary, Monster From the Deep (1967)

Also known as: Taekoesu Yonggary (South Korea)
Release Date: August 13th, 1967 (South Korea)
Directed by: Kim Ki-duk
Written by: Kim Ki-duk, Seo Yun-sung
Music by: Jeon Jeong-Keun
Cast: Oh Yeong-il, Nam Jeong-im

Keukdong Entertainment Company, American International Pictures, 80 Minutes

Review:

Since almost every country under the sun tried to make their own ripoff of Godzilla, South Korea thought they could take a crack at it too. What they gave the world is Yongary: Monster From the Deep.

In this film, we are given a monster that looks like an unofficial Mexican knockoff of a rubber Godzilla toy with a rhino horn glued to its snout in an effort to not be sued. His name is Yongary but the Koreans spelled it Yonggary, which reminds me of Young Gary a gay porn that was really popular when I worked at a video store, back in the day.

Anyway, Yongary is unleashed on Seoul after being woken up by an earthquake. The Korean kaiju develops a taste for oil. When the oil supply is turned off, he goes ape shit. Eventually, he shows weakness when a refinery blows up. The Koreans then use oil to lure Yongary into a trap where he is killed and then bleeds out into the river. It is kind of a sad sight, actually. And if only Yongary would’ve been around fifteen years earlier, we could’ve used him to crush those commies to the north! Actually, the South Koreans missed the boat in not using oil to lead Yongary to the commie capital.

The special effects in this thing are pretty bad. While some idiots out there like to talk smack about the crappy special effects in Godzilla movies, I like to point to films like Yongary and say, “Well, this piece of shit makes Godzilla vs. Megalon look like Jurassic Park.” Besides, nothing in the 1950s or 1960s can compare to the miniature work of Eiji Tsuburaya’s in those earlier Godzilla pictures.

Yongary finally got the recognition it deserves though, as it is featured in the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Despite all the negatives though, I do like this film. I think you have to have a real love of kaiju pictures for this one to resonate but it is better than weak efforts like The X From Outer Space and Reptilicus. And at least Yongary doesn’t have that Dutch Jerry Lewis a.k.a. Dirch Passer, who made Reptilicus a lot worse than it needed to be.

Rating: 5/10