Train to Busan (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 2, 2017 by Dennis Amith
“Snowden” may be a tame film from filmmaker Oliver Stone but it’s a film that is entertaining, insightful and an eye-opener. But how you feel about Edward Snowden after watching the film, may you feel that he is a traitor or hero? That is subjective to the viewer. But yet, “Snowden” is a film worth watching!
TITLE: Train to Busan
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 118 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (16:9), Korean and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA
RATED: Not Rated
RELEASE DATE: January 17, 2017
Directed by Sang-ho Yeon
Screenplay by Sang-ho Yeon
Produced by Yuji Ishida, Genki Kawamura
Music by Shiro Sagisu, Shiro Washizu
Cinematography by Shoji Ehara
Edited by Yusuke Ishida
Production Design by Takeshi Shimizu
Costume Design by Shin’Ichi Mita
Yoo Gong as Seok Woo
Soo-an Kim as Soo-an
Yu-mi Jung as Sung Geyong
Dong-seok Ma as Sang Hwa
Woo-sik Choi as Young Gook
Sohee as Jin-hee
Eui-sung Kim as Yong-Suk
Gwi-hwa Choi as Homeless Man
TRAIN TO BUSAN is a harrowing zombie horror-thriller that follows a group of terrified passengers fighting their way through a countrywide viral outbreak, trapped on a suspicion-filled, blood-drenched bullet train ride to the Safe Zone…which may or may not still be there.
From filmmaker Sang-ho Yeon, known for directing the animated films “The King of Pigs”, “The Fake” and the zombie infestation animated film “Seoul Station”.
In 2016, the live action zombie apocalypse horror film “Train to Busan” was written and directed by Sang-ho Yeon and stars Yoo Gong (“Silenced”, “The Age of Shadows”), Soo-an Kim (“Gyeongju”, “Mad Sad Bad”), Yu-mi Jung (“Our Sunhi”, “In Another Country”, “Silenced”), Dong-seok Ma (“The Good, The Bad the Weird”, “Nameless Gangster”, “One on One”), Sohee (“Hellcats”), Eui-sung Kim (“Hill of Freedom”, “Nobody’s Daughter Haewon”, “Architecture 101”) and Woo-sik Choi (“Set Me Free”, “Big Match”, “Secretly, Greatly”).
Th film was premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and set a record for the film being viewed with over 10 million theatergoers. Sang-ho Yeon’s animated film “Seoul Station” was released a month after “Train to Busan” and serves as the animated prequel to the film.
And now “Train to Busan” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Well go USA Entertainment.
The film revolves around Seok-woo (portrayed by Yoo Gong), a divorced hedge fund manager who is always working and never there for his young daughter, Soo-an (portrayed by Soo-an Kim). He buys her a Nintendo Wii, but doesn’t realize he bought that gift for her already.
All she wanted is to go to Busan, so she can see her mother. And each time her father promises, unfortunately his work gets in the way.
But Seok-woo decides to grant his daughter her wish and takes her on the train to Busan. But right when they are about to leave, a sickly woman enters the train right before it departs.
Also aboard the train is Sang-hwa (portayed by Ma Dong-seok) and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (portrayed by Jung Yu-mi), a high school baseball team which includes Young Gook (portrayed by Woo-sik Choi) and the girl that likes him, Sohee (portrayed by Jin-hee), a selfish businessman named Yong-suk and others.
When a train attendant sees the sickly woman and goes to help her, it is revealed that the woman is infected and turns into a zombie. She bites the attendant and this triggers a zombie train reaction as people that are bitten and infected turn into zombies and now the train becomes a hub of zombie activity and survivors try to survive on the train to Busan. But will they ever get to Busan?
“Train to Busan” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as outdoor scenes are colorful and interior scenes inside the train are well-lit.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Train to Busan” is presented in Korean and English dub 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series features crystal clear dialogue and a lot of intense moments of chaos, from fights with the zombie, screaming and crying as ambiance but there are major action sequences with train derailments and more. The lossless soundtrack is very good for this film.
I also watched the film with its English dub and I have to say, that although I do not watch Asian cinema with English dub tracks, I wanted to see how the voice acting was and if anything improved with English dubbing for Asian cinema and sure enough, it’s one of the better English dubs I’ve listened to and well-acted.
Subtitles are in English.
“Train to Busan” comes with the following special features:
- Making Of – (13:01) Featuring the Making of “Train to Busan”
- That’s a Wrap – (4:34) Final scene and interviews with the director and cast.
- Trailer – “Train to Busan” theatrical trailer
“Train to Busan” comes with a slipcover.
I have watched a fair share of zombie apocalypse horror films and you often run into films that feature a protagonist going in hero mode taking on the zombies or pretty much trying to figure out which survivors will make it to the end of the film.
“Train to Busan” is the latter, but instead of being banal like any other zombie film, this film adds an emotional component as the protagonist is a workaholic father who is never there for his daughter, but for her birthday, promises to take her to see her mother in Busan.
And as the father and daughter take the train, all hell breaks loose when an infected woman sneaks aboard and bites the train attendant, who then becomes infect and not long after, the whole train becomes infected with zombies and survivors try to stay alive and outwit the zombies, if at all possible.
You have Yoo Gong in the starring role as Seok Woo, the workaholic father and fund manager who is trying to be there for his daughter but never could make it to any of her classroom festivities or birthday due to his work. So, for his daughter’s birthday wish of wanting to see her mother, at least he could do that for her and accompany her to Busan by train.
The father and daughter chemistry between Yoo Gong and young actress Soo-an Kim is well-done but most importantly, far too often, you see a young actress who can deliver the most emotional, devastating scenes and Soo-an Kim is a young girl who delivers with pure emotion.
Also, starring in the film is Dong-seok Ma as the big and bulky Sang Hwa. He may come off abrasive but he is a loving husband to his pregnant wife Sung Geyong (portrayed by Yu-mi Jung).
Sang Hwa is the most athletic of the men in the film and with his hulking presence and sometimes rude and other times humorous, he becomes a character that many want to root for.
But of course, you have your characters who are true jerks and with an apocalyptic horror film, you always have to have the one jerk who cares about no one but themselves and that is Yong-Suk (portrayed by Eui-sung Kim).
Needless to say, there are some decisions made by certain characters that may infuriate the viewer or make them scratch their head of why the character did what they did but every zombie apocalypse storyline always has to have a jerk and bad decision making people in the mix.
But I really enjoyed “Train to Busan” as the film is no doubt one of the best zombie apocalypse films I have watched from Asian cinema. And I have to say that as a zombie film period, it’s full of adrenaline, surprises and you really are captivated by the film and keeping you on the edge of your seat of which person or people survive and make it to the end of the film.
As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is very good as outdoor scenes are vibrant, close-ups are also well-done with great clarity. Lossless audio is also very good and comes with both a Korean and English lossless track. And you get two short special features as well.
Overall, the Korean film “Train to Busan” may be one of the better zombie apocalypse horror films ever made in Asian cinema. Pulse-pounding action, well-written storyline and interesting characters, Sang-ho Yeon’s “Train to Busan” is highly recommended!
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