Train to Busan & Peninsula 4K Review

2016’s Train to Busan fits neatly into the higher echelon category of “outbreak” or “Fast-Zombie” movies.  And it is hardly a niche crowd; with so many films in the last two decades alone from around the world fitting nicely into this realm of absurd, yet poignant, modern horror.  That is to say that Train to Busan balances human emotional drama and tension more than adequately.

The film introduces us to several of the train passengers – fixating largely on a disenchanted father and his even more disenchanted young daughter. Thrown into the mix include a sports team, two elderly sisters, paranoid businessmen, the train staff, and a pregnant woman and her husband (played by the scene-stealing Ma Dong-seok. Also known as Don Lee – It’s easy to see why Hollywood came calling after this film. And such a shame he was wasted in The Eternals as he was a highlight in that too).

The train has no sooner left the station than the outbreak hits with as much velocity as the train tearing through the landscape. Panic sets in and the film delivers various tense setpieces. The passengers have to fend off the rabid infestation, segregate themselves in temporary safety, change trains, reunite with their loved ones and try to survive until the end of the line. It’s tense, frustrating and funny and you care for the people involved.

The film’s real strength is the display of human failure built into each of us and having to watch as people turn against each other in a desperate attempt to self-preserve. It’s blackly comical, frustrating, and often enraging to see people do the things they do to survive at the cost of others’ safety.

Train to Busan proves that the epidemic-zombie film hasn’t died yet – with more of the ilk on the way (and even an American remake).

2020’s Peninsula takes, perhaps wisely, a very different approach. It acts as an aftermath movie and decides to go down the “heist” route. It can be comparable to the likes of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead and even Neil Marshall’s Doomsday. You might even to an extent throw in The Purge: Anarchy for good measure – that is to say it is a film that throws a small group together of survivors who willingly travel into hostile grounds, not just overrun by the plagued masses, but also by corrupt people who run the place like their very own pleasure paradise. This invites comparisons to the coliseum games of Rome but done in a very Escape From New York style.

It’s stylish, for sure, and has some decent action. Yet, it doesn’t quite have the heart of the original film. It isn’t without a lack of trying, however, as we do meet a sympathetic and badass family of survivors along the way to root for. But it has turned all dials up to the max so there isn’t much in the way of siubtly either. Peninsula is fun, but ultimately much more forgettable than the first film.

Both films look and sound as you would expect for films under 10 years old.  They look and sound great. A 4K upgrade from an already owned Blu-ray may seem surplus to requirement for anyone who does already own them. If you don’t then no reason why you shouldn’t start here.

The extras for both films are very light. There are very brief behind-the-scenes making of material that wouldn’t fill half an hour. So, if you are here for anything it would be the films.

Making of


Peninsula: Making Of Featurettes – The Action
Peninsula: Making Of Featurettes – The Characters
Peninsula: Making Of Featurettes – The Director
Peninsula: Making Of Featurettes – The Sequel

Steven Hurst

Train to Busan and Peninsula are out on 4K on 27th May

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