Horror films aren’t really my thing. I’m too imaginative to be watching these kinds of films. But after much convincing, my friends eventually made me succumb to the temptation of watching Train To Busan. Truth be told, the film is a rush. After the initial scenes which gives you a hint of what’s to come, it steps on the gas and doesn’t let up until the end. Fans of the genre will surely love this fresh take by Korean director, Sang-ho Yeon. What’s even more surprising is the fact that this is his first live action movie. I’m curious to see how his animated ones look.
However, while I did enjoy this roller coaster ride, I think I wouldn’t give it another go. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good film and I didn’t expect to like it considering my stance on zombie movies. But my heart couldn’t survive another beating like that. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. It’s not just because of the non-stop action sequences. The Koreans are experts in tugging at your heartstrings. The reason a lot of people get addicted to their features, whether on the big screen or on TV, is their uncanny ability to play with your emotions. Descendants of the Sun was a huge hit precisely because of this.
Another thing I’ve noticed about Korean creations is that they recycle a lot of their themes but they do an excellent job of changing things up that the mass of moviegoers never fail to be entertained. Think about it. Train to Busan is not really a zombie apocalypse movie. It’s a movie about a father – daughter relationship set in a zombie apocalypse. I don’t know how they do it but it’s effective.
I love how Seok Woo, the protagonist, redeems himself towards the end of the movie. He’s the type of person who only cares about himself and this causes a falling out with his ex-wife and puts a tremendous strain on his relationship with his daughter. They travel to Busan as an attempt to repair their damaged bond. But an outbreak threatens his effort to reconnect with Soo-an. Can he salvage his family in the midst of all the chaos?
If you ask me, one of the reasons I’m not fond of the trope is its exposure of the fallen human nature. That people will do whatever it takes to survive even if that means that you have to take advantage of others. Not everyone is like Seok Woo who eventually learns how to cooperate with his fellow survivors and be a father that his kid can be proud of. It’s sad that it took a zombie apocalypse to bring that out of him and it only lasted for a short time. But before you get depressed, remember that this is only fiction. However, we live in a world that is, at close inspection, similar to a zombie apocalypse. Everywhere there’s destruction. Everyone will die sooner or later. The only difference will be our response to all that’s happening. What are you going to do with what you have been given?