As a national cinema, South Korean cinema is one of the most exciting and unique around, so when they announced a sequel to Train To Busan I was rather excited. It is important to note that Peninsula isn’t a direct sequel to Train To Busan, but instead, they exist in the same universe. Much of the marketing material states “Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula” which is rather ironic given how much of a failure Peninsula is.
Yeon Sang-ho returns as director, and he seemingly abandons everything that made Train To Busan great. What made Train To Busan great was its energy, its characters, its inventive approach to genre and how it used its setting to drive tension. Peninsula has none of that; it’s quite frankly the rotting corpse of that film. It’s a CGI mess that offers nothing new to the genre and seemingly forgets what is most interesting about zombie films (for me, at least); people.
Yes, Mad Max-esque car chases are cool. Yes, a game where people have to survive in an arena with zombies is cool. No, this doesn’t make the film interesting at all, because we don’t care about the stakes of these sequences. The characters featured in these sequences are dull and boring with ridiculous character arcs, losing any stakes it aimed to set-up. Any moment of emotion is undeserved and at times, laughable, particularly the final 20 minutes, which is Fast and the Furious levels of ridiculous.
Just rewatch Train to Busan.