Movie Review: 10 Scenes from Train to Busan (2016) That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep

[SPOILER ALERT!]

It’s true that Halloween is still a few more months away, but watching a zombie movie, especially a good one like Train to Busan, can’t wait until the end of October. This Gong Yoo-led film is definitely a treat to all zombie movie lovers out there, and I’m going to tell you why.

Train to Busan’s zombies are not your typical slow-moving undead creatures—they’re fast and rabid, reminiscent of the ones seen in the movies World War Z and 28 Days Later. The special effects are daebak, from the zombie visuals and movements to the musical scoring and graphics. The use of the train as the main setting of the movie is also very smart as its claustrophobic setup adds up to the thrill and excitement. The movie also successfully shows how humans can be much scarier than flesh-eating zombies.

With the reasons stated above, it’s no doubt the movie is both a commercial and a critical success. It had so far earned $87.5 million worldwide, attracted over 11 million moviegoers in South Korea, and even became the highest-grossing Korean film in several Asian countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It also received generally positive reviews from major movie critics such as Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and Entertainment Weekly, among others. In December 2016, Variety reported that Train to Busan will be remade in the US. Now tell me how daebak is that!

Fun fact: Train to Busan actually has an animated movie prequel titled Seoul Station that explains how the zombie virus started.

And in case you still aren’t convinced yet to watch Train to Busan, here are 10 scenes from the movie that won’t make you fall asleep at night, especially if you’re alone. Well, I don’t know if that sounds convincing to you. ㅋㅋㅋ

  1. Gong Yoo is not your typical movie hero here

Before we set our eyes on heart-stopping sights of zombies and bloodied bodies, can we just appreciate first how dashing of a man Gong Yoo is? He looks so damn perfect in a suit—may it be a clean one or a blood-soaked one.

Gong Yoo appreciation (1)Gong Yoo appreciation (3)

Gong Yoo plays the character of Seok-woo, a divorced, workaholic fund manager. Unlike most movie leads in zombie apocalyptic films, Seok-woo isn’t as willing to put his life on the line to save other people except his daughter.

  1. The girl who started it all in the train

Come to think of it. If this runaway girl played by Shim Eun-kyung didn’t jump into the train last minute before it departed, then all the passengers could’ve reached the quarantine station in Busan safe and sound.

Girl who started it all in the train (1)Girl who started it all in the train (2)

  1. Tough husband with a soft heart

It’s always like that. Kind-hearted characters end up sacrificing their lives to save people they love. Just like Sang-hwa played by actor Ma Dong-seok. My heart ached when he shouted to his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong played by Jung Yu-mi the name he wants for their unborn daughter, just seconds before he got swarmed by zombies.

Tough husband sacrifices (1)Tough husband sacrifices (2)

Fun fact: Actor Ma Dong-seok, also known as Don Lee, was once the personal trainer of mixed martial artists Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman.

  1. Badass halmoni is the real MVP

Badass halmoni In-gil played by Ye Soo-jung is my favorite character in the movie. It’s because she did exactly what I wanted to do to all those selfish A-holes in the train car. Though it’s sad because she also died in that act, she still did a good job!

Badass halmoni (1)Badass halmoni (2)

  1. Karma is a real bitch

Actor Kim Eui-sung effectively gave life to the character of rich but selfish CEO Yon-suk, the main antagonist of the movie, because not only once that I wished for somebody to push him off the train or feed him to zombies. He did everything to survive to the point of letting fellow train passengers be killed. Too bad, karma knows when to strike back. He got infected and turned when safety is already within striking distance.

Reason why selfish COO

  1. The hero dies just when you thought he’d make it

Moments before Seok-woo completely turned into a zombie, he managed to smile while having a flashback to when his daughter, Soo-an, was born. What a very touching and frustrating scene at the same time that would make you question why he had to die when he’s almost safe.

Gong Yoo smiles before completely turning

  1. That zombie chain looks familiar

I can’t help but compare this scene where zombies formed a chain that almost stopped the train carrying Gong Yoo and other survivors

Zombie chain just like World War Z

to this scene in World War Z.

World War Z comparison

  1. Aloha ‘Oe saves the day

Thank goodness Soo-an played by Kim Su-an sang while she and the pregnant Seong-kyeong were walking along the tunnel. Because if not, all the sacrifices for them to reach Busan safely would’ve gone to waste as the soldiers were ready to fire at them any moment due to thinking they might be zombies.

Young girl singing, safety finally (1)Young girl singing, safety finally (2)

  1. Homeless but definitely not heartless

This homeless man played by Choi Gwi-hwa taught us that compassion is always better than any worldly possession.

Homeless man sacrifices

  1. You know it’s true love when you’re willing to die for it

High school girl Jin-hee played by Ahn So-hee got infected, but her love interest, high school baseball player Yong-guk played by Choi Woo-shik, didn’t leave her and instead wait for her to turn and bite him. Indeed a sad, beautiful, tragic scene.

Jin-hee turns

I’m a die-hard zombie movie and K-Drama fan myself so imagine my excitement when I learned about the release of Train to Busan. Good thing it didn’t disappoint! It’s truly a classic in the making that deserves a four-and-a-half hearteu rating! So what are you waiting for, ahjummamshies? Turn off the lights, grab a company, and put this movie on!

~ All credit for the videos used as GIFs in this review goes to Next Entertainment World (NEW) and RedPeter Film.

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11 thoughts on “Movie Review: 10 Scenes from Train to Busan (2016) That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep

    1. I couldn’t agree more! He’s one of the reasons why I love Train to Busan. His acting here was very convincing. I think he’s also in the TV series “Bad Guys” though I haven’t watched it yet. 🙂

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  1. Ma Dong-seok is in 38 Squad, too. I watched Train to Busan with a large, very enthusiastic audience. The first time Ma Dong-seok did something against the zombies (he grabbed a baseball bat, or something) everybody cheered very loudly.

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  2. I enjoyed re-living the film while reading your review. I’d like to suggest that you include [SPOILERS ALERT!] as the first two words of your review, because somehow, where they are now, my eyes skipped right over them. . . i did not notice them at all until I read the review a second time. I saw Seoul Station (twice) it did show how the virus was able to spread quickly and easily, but did not really show how it started. That was revealed, though with VERY little detail, through a radio report and by some police or army guys at a road block, in Train to Busan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Liz! 🙂 Thank you for your inputs. Gonna put the [SPOILERS ALERT!] warning at the start of the article for the benefit of the readers who haven’t seen the movie yet. Truth is I haven’t watched Seoul Station and solely relied on articles to get info about it for my review. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂 I’d like to watch it too though I can’t find a copy with English subs. Can you please suggest where I can find one? Thank you in advance!

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      1. I saw it in a cinema, but it must be online somewhere. I will try to find it for you. Am I blind or what? I do not see a “follow” button for your blog. Or don’t you have one?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh wow, that’s very kind of you. Thank you! Yes we don’t have a follow widget but there’s a follow button on the lower right corner of the page. Sorry for the hassle! 🙂

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