Monday, April 26, 2021

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Length: 116 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Next Entertainment World, RedPeter Film, Golden Village Pictures, Clover Films, Well Go USA Entertainment, BfParis, ARP Sélection, StudioCanal UK, GAGA, A Contracorriente Films,, Gravel Road Distribution Group, Kross Pictures, Shudder, Splendid Film, The Filmbridge
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Writer:  Sang-ho Yeon, Ryu Yong-jae
Actors: Dong-won Gang, Lee Jung-hyun, Re Lee, Hae-hyo Kwon, Min-jae Kim, Kyo-hwan Koo, Do-yoon Kim, Ye-Won Lee, Jang So-Yeon, Moon Woo-Jin
Blurb from IMDb: A zombie virus has in the last 4 years spread to all South Korea. 4 Koreans in HK sail thru the blockade to Incheon for USD20,000,000 on a truck.

Selina’s Point of View:
If you’ve been following for a while, then you know how I feel about zombie flicks. They’re my go-to guilty pleasure. I will watch any of them regardless of how original they are, the quality, or the country they’re produced in. That’s just the way it is.
That means that I’ve seen more zombie films than the average movie goer – maybe even more than the average reviewer… since I also seek them out in my free time. Train to Busan (2016) is still one of the best, if not the absolute best, zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Hell, it’s part of what introduced me to Korean cinema and inspired me to start learning the language.
Rest assured, if there is a flick that comes out that is even minorly tied to Train to Busan, I’m going to watch it.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula caught my attention immediately when we came across the trailer. Not just because of its ties to the original, either.
The trailer was outstanding. The way it was presented made it feel like the movie would be a non-stop, pulse-pounding, action film. It took the lore and brought it into the future, showing us what came next.

I was surprised when I saw the reviews were mixed when they started coming out, but now I get it.

I won’t say that the trailer lied. However, it was cut in a way that made me expect something different. I think that was the case with most people who saw it.
The coming attractions made it seem like Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula was going to be a zombie horror version of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). That was not what it was.
Most of the driving shots in the trailer came from the same scene. They were cool, and I enjoyed watching them, but Mad Max it wasn’t.
This is the problem with misrepresenting a film in the trailer. Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula was good… but it attracted an audience looking for a different flick. It’s that simple.
Instead of leaning hard into the action aspects, it followed down the emotional path that the original Train to Busan took. As much as it was about the setting and the zombies, it was equally about the human factor and how the characters related to each other. There was plenty of action, but it wasn’t non-stop the way it was advertised. It was broken up by plot that involved basic humanity.

There was also a part in the beginning that went into the Asian racism that’s been a huge problem as of late.
You see the way refugees from Korea are treated, as though they were responsible for the zombie virus. Many people might have decided that was more political than it actually is – which could have affected the score.
I’m going to digress and say something real quick.
It’s not political. It’s humanity. It’s the lack of compassion we see now, with people calling Covid a “Chinese virus”. If you are one of those people, you’re not making a political statement. You are showing your true, highly racist, opinion of an entire group of people. Covid affected the whole world. Even if it originated in China, it still killed just as many people there as it did everywhere else. The lack of compassion, the lack of reasonable thought, that goes into blaming the entirety of Asian countries for something that affected the whole world… is insane.
This movie shows a little bit of that insanity – and I’m glad it did, because it’s something people should see. Maybe seeing the way it translates to screen will show people how absolutely idiotic these racist views are.

Moving on.
I’ll admit that Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula was a lot more predictable than its predecessor. I predicted the ending, almost to the second. There was a bit more of a recipe feel to many of the other scenes, as well. I still think this was a decent zombie film.
Do I think it met the standards of Train to Busan? No. However, I think very few flicks ever could.
I enjoyed watching it, and that’s how I’m going to judge it. Not against what came first, but in general.
I will probably watch it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 76%
Metascore – 51/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.1/10
IMDB Score – 5.5/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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