On a packed bullet train, *contagion suddenly spreads throughout like wildfire. Will you lend a helping hand to those in need, or focus all your energy on self-preservation?
Train to Busan, a South Korean zombie film which raises this question, has recently set Chinese social media *aflutter.
To fulfill his young daughter’s birthday wish, divorced *hedge fund manager Seok-wu (Gong Yoo) takes the girl on a train from Seoul to Busan to visit her mother. Early in the journey, a *scruffy-looking young woman *staggers onto the train at the last second, herself seemingly infected by something.
It doesn’t take a hardcore fan of the genre to predict what happens next–the dead-looking girl takes a bite out of a passing *attendant, then all hell breaks loose. Those who are able to fight their way through do, among them would-be saviors and cowardly egocentrics.
However, unlike the traditional powerful and *obliging heroes of Western zombie stories, Seok-wu, as the lead protagonist, never intends to save the day during the most part.
Setting his character’s tone, the self-absorbed man locks the door for his own safety when a pregnant woman fleeing from zombies tries to get in. He forbids his daughter to offer her seat to an elderly woman, telling her that only ones own well-being matters in extreme conditions. He also uses his contacts to try secure a way out for him and his young daughter, not considering his hundreds of fellow passengers.
Even when he teams up with a *dauntless *bruiser and a high school baseball player to fight the zombie hoard, the viewer can guess that his only motivation is the survival of him and his daughter.
Compared with the familiar gore-fests of TV series like The Walking Dead (2010-), Train to Busan actually provides a less bloody setting, instead focusing on the complexities of human behavior, rather than the senseless *shedding of limbs.
The zombie genre has been done to death – no pun intended – but Train to Busan largely owes its success to its vivid character *portrayal.
For example, the central character is a workaholic father who doesn’t pay enough attention to his daughter but ends up putting his life at stake for her. We also see a selfish, middle-aged man who later reveals that his only mission is to simply reunite with his mother. Love and relationships seem to be a central theme, with a young couple proving their loyalty to one another as well as two elderly sisters who serve to represent family affection.
“It takes a bunch of tropes/cliches that we’re all familiar with, and makes them feel fresh and brand spanking new,” horror movie enthusiast The Black Saint wrote in a review for Horrornews.net.
“影片里有大量我们熟悉的老套剧情，但这部片子却让它们焕然一新，迸发出全新的火花，”恐怖电影爱好者The Black Saint在网站Horrornews.net上的评论道。