Sok-woo and his daughter Soo-ahn are boarding the KTX, a fast train that shall bring them from Seoul to Busan. But during their journey, the train is overrun by zombies which kill several of the train staff and other passengers.While the KTX is shooting towards Busan, the passengers have to fight for their lives against the zombies.
IMDb: 8.0 !!! 😮
It’s not the first time we witness a zombie outbreak, it’s not the first time we see mass violence on a moving train, neither is it the first time we watch a South Korean movie. So the idea behind Busanhaeng is nothing new. In fact, even the ideas that were new were already old. Very agile and fast zombies we’ve seen in World War Z, violence on a train we’ve seen in Snowpiercer, Zombies in broad daylight we’ve seen in Resident Evil and other movies. Character development and clever dialogues were as stupid as in every other zombieslasher flick … but something was different about Busanhaeng.
Maybe it’s the combination of all plus it’s made in Korea and not in Hollywod that makes Busanhaeng stand out. Not by much, not in a particular good way, just as a little different.
I guess it’s that fact that Korean screenwriters have absolutely zero problems killing off the audience’s fave characters, that female roles can be politically incorrect stupid and totally girlish, that the little girl was allowed to be more clever than her stereotypical good/altruistic and bad/selfish adult counterparts, which made Busanhaeng somehow refreshingly different from the standard zombie fare.
Busanhaeng was an expensive production for Korean standards I guess. And it shows. The production values were high, everything looked very well made. Camera was spectacular in parts. Doing the mass action scenes in the confinement of a narrow train couldn’t have been easy. The direction was well paced, almost breathless, and always moving.
Actors and acting was very good, I’d say better than usual in zombie flicks. Still, this movie wasn’t about acting at all. And that’s what striked me a weird. Weirder than the usual Korean weirdness. Why did they put so much care into a pretty standard product that won’t get much attention outside of the (ok, very very important) Asian market.
Yes, maybe we shouldn’t forget that the Asian cinema industry is more, much more, than just a talent stock for Hollywood to plunder and exploit as Hollywood fancies. Asia is strong and rich and shockfull of talent and ideas … and they aren’t as tired as the Americans yet.
No wonder some Hollywod studio has bought the rights on Busanhaeng and is about to do a remake. Ok, that’s a stupid idea if there ever was one. It just shows how tired and out of ideas Hollywood is by now. They are grabbing for straws. 😦 Still one must wonder where the incredibly high IMDb-rating of 8.0 comes from. With all due respect and love and my faible for Asian movies, Busanhaeng isn’t a 8.0 movie. Far from. It’s far better than most zombie-slashers but not a 8.0!
CONCLUSION: A lively, somehow different take on the topic of zombies, Busanhaeng is full of breathless action from the first minute to the last. Still I was a bit bored sometimes. But then I’m hardly the target audience. My offensively stupid hubby felt very well entertained, so there you have it. 😉
WATCH IT: … from the edge of your seat.
THE EXPERTS SAY:
EDIT: Totally fresh review, was just uploaded to YT a couple days ago:
Err, well … this “review” looks more like guerilla marketing to me. But it was the only one I could find on YT.
Ok, found one:
… and one more:
Oké, here we go …