Saturday 29 October 2016

"Train to Busan" (Guardian 28/10/16)

Train to Busan ****
Dir: Yeon Sang-ho. With: Gong Yoo, Kim Soo-an, Jeong Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok. 118 mins. Cert: 15  

An unimpeachable megahit in its native Korea, Yeon Sang-ho’s horror-thriller floats a delicious premise – zombies on a train – delivered on several times over. Its pleasures are as much logistical as visceral: after a biotech leak, our hero – callow financier Seok (Gong Yoo), shepherding a young daughter towards an estranged wife – is confronted by the old Southern Rail problem of how to navigate entire carriages of violently enraged shufflers (one hint: luggage racks). Making his live-action debut, Yeon – who animated 2011’s memorably grim The King of Pigs – stages thumping close-quarters action, but also manages numerous deft, affecting manoeuvres with characters drawn from a cross-section of Korean society. We’re bound for an extraordinary railyard finale that involves seemingly half the country’s population and a living-versus-undead dust-up atop a runaway loco, yet Yeon keeps us guessing until the nervy closing seconds. It’s a delayed arrival, but here, finally, is the summer blockbuster for which we’ve all been waiting. 

Train to Busan is now playing in selected cinemas.

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