Ticket to ride: Train to Busan trilogy simulwatch

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
Hello, and welcome to the AUKN simulwatch of the Train to Busan movie trilogy!

For the first time, an AUKN simulwatch makes the leap to the Media Discussion section of the forums. If you're new to simulwatching on AUKN and want to learn more, check out the Simulwatch schedule and suggestions list thread here:

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Train to Busan, starring Gong Yoo

Train to Busan
is a trio of live-action zombie horror films from South Korea. Online movie database IMDb describes the 2016 film that spawned the trilogy as follows:

Story
Sok-woo, a father with not much time for his daughter, Soo-ahn, are boarding the KTX, a fast train that will bring them from Seoul to Busan. But during their journey, the apocalypse begins, and most of the earth's population become flesh-craving zombies. While the KTX is shooting towards Busan, the passengers fight for their families and lives against the zombies — and each other.

An animated prequel, Seoul Station, in production at the same time as the original, was released less than a month later. In 2020, a stand-alone sequel, Peninsula, set four years after the events of the original, also saw release. All three films are directed by Yeon Sang-ho (The King of Pigs, 2011).

How to watch
The films are available to buy in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD from distributor Studio Canal, either individually or as a complete trilogy box set from your usual retailers. Credit goes to AUKN member @Geriatric hedgehog for noting that Peninsula is also streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with Train to Busan and Seoul Station available to rent or buy digitally via the service. (Amazon Prime Video membership required.)

The AUKN simulwatch will take in the three movies in order of release in the run-up to Halloween, the perfect time of year for a zombie horror-thon. Our schedule is shown in the table below.

FilmDate
Train to BusanMon 25 October
Seoul StationWed 27 October
PeninsulaFri 29 October


So, strap yourselves in tight, folks, and get ready to ride that train. It's gonna be a bumpy (and gory!) ride. 🧟‍♂️🧟‍♀️
 
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Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
I've seen the original when it was on Amazon prime previously so will read everyone's thoughts on that. Noticed that Peninsula is on prime at present (whilst watching the truly excellent The Wailing on that - a fantastic one for Halloween movie watchlists). The others can still be rented on prime also.
 

WMD

Mad Scientist
Train to Busan

Didnt know anything going in and oh boy what a treat this film turned out to be! The whole concept of setting a zombie apocalypse on a train is just brilliant. The confinement of only having forward and backwards to move is so claustrophobic. Also thematically having the plot device literally moving into the unknown, where you're unsure if salvation lies whilst the characters fight, run, hide and struggle to survive is so fitting it blows my mind it hasn't been done before!

The sequence/act where the 3 guys team up and decide to fight their way through the train back to their lived ones was so visceral. It's one of the most intense things I've seen. How it would flip from action to more quiet horror in the tunnels and even broken up with some wry humour was just so good. It was tragic but kind of fitting that by the end all 3 fell trying to get their loved one to safety. All 3 were a bit douchy at the start but really stepped up and watching the big man throw a zombie into the ceiling was just plain awesome.

The big set piece at the end of them runing to the train while a tidal wave of death chased them was well filmed. The stunt work and special effects were also really good. One of the best zombie movies I've ever seen!
 
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Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Train to Busan

I'm with you WMD this movie is an exceptionally good zombie flick, though I have seen it once before.

What I liked the most was how realistic people behaved, we had the full range of personalities, and some were clearly more selfless than others. I wanted to hit the COO guy so badly though, he played the villain really well!

There aren't really a lot of plot holes or any events I found completely ridiculous, with the exception of some minor things like they probably could have gone under the train instead of through it near the end (the bit where they were smashing the glass). Maybe also letting the one and only train driver go off by himself to get another train instead of leaving and grouping up.

I think one of the strengths is just how well the movie does everything it does, there are no weak points to it, although it's kind of telling 28 days later on a train, it does the job really well. The zombies feel genuinely threatening and have insane speed to match the threat levels.

I've not seen the next film, so onwards to Seoul Station in a couple of days time :)
 
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WMD

Mad Scientist
What I liked the most was how realistic people behaved, we had the full range of personalities, and some were clearly more selfless than others. I wanted to hit the COO guy so badly though, he played the villain really well!
He was a great villian. I hated him so much! The way he manipulated people while only being out for himself. I wanted to shake that train guard and tell him to take charge so much!

There aren't really a lot of plot holes or any events I found completely ridiculous, with the exception of some minor things like they probably could have gone under the train instead of through it near the end
Haha I thought that too.

Maybe also letting the one and only train driver go off by himself to get another train instead of leaving and grouping up.
I think here its coz no one could speak back to the driver. The driver made a plan and let them know over the intercom and was off. One group had lost the walkie talkie to the zombies when the old lady let them in. And the other had bo way to get a message back to him. That's how I saw it anyway.

I think one of the strengths is just how well the movie does everything it does, there are no weak points to it, although it's kind of telling 28 days later on a train, it does the job really well. The zombies feel genuinely threatening and have insane speed to match the threat levels.
Yeah you're right it totally has 28 Days Later vibes. Must be why I liked it so much. It was just all round great.

The big set piece at the end of them runing to the train while a tidal wave of death chased them was well filmed.
Also I realised this is what that bit at the end reminded me of

 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
@WMD, @Lordhippos:

Really glad you guys enjoyed the film. It makes it all worthwhile now, taking a punt on suggesting this as a simulwatch.

For me, I think it's the characterisation and the moral complexity of the screenplay that win the day; I came to really care what happened to these characters when I first watched this film, and it was the same again this time. I mean, I'm really not a horror fan: it's a genre I honestly normally avoid. But Train to Busan is just such an excellent film that it doesn't matter what genre it is: it's just a quality film outright.
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Question for people, what are you top zombie films? Food for though at the moment, I'd definitely put this into my top 5. I'll come back with a list of my own later on this evening :)

I too am not a horror watcher generally @Neil.T but I like a good zombie film (emphasis on good!) and I don't mind a good thriller from time to time, Korea seem to make the best thriller films.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
I'd second that, Parasite is certainly worthy of a watch and as possible best to go in blind.

Korea seem to make the best thriller films.
They most certainly do, and there are so many recent ones to pick from of which my favourites from the horror genre in particular are The Wailing (a fantastic slow burner, thriller horror, also on Amazon prime currently) & Thirst (a surprisingly infrequently talked about entry from the well known director of Old Boy). Also watching the very on trend Squid Games, it was nice to see a couple of great cameos in that,
with the first being the lead from Train to Busan itself and the second the lead from A Bittersweet Life.

I too am not a horror watcher generally @Neil.T but I like a good zombie film (emphasis on good!)
Question for people, what are you top zombie films?
Oooh, tough one, as I'm a big fan of horror (my very first movies to watch as a kid were oddly horror heh) but zombie ones tend to be lower on the list for me heh. First to come to mind is the excellent 28 Days Later and then the wonderful homage to the creative process that is One Cut of the Dead (that I managed to watch on the recent film 4 showing thanks to @Just Passing Through's top tip).
 

WMD

Mad Scientist
@WMD, @Lordhippos:

Really glad you guys enjoyed the film. It makes it all worthwhile now, taking a punt on suggesting this as a simulwatch.

For me, I think it's the characterisation and the moral complexity of the screenplay that win the day; I came to really care what happened to these characters when I first watched this film, and it was the same again this time. I mean, I'm really not a horror fan: it's a genre I honestly normally avoid. But Train to Busan is just such an excellent film that it doesn't matter what genre it is: it's just a quality film outright.
It was a cracking start. The characters and their dynamics were excellent. And ultimately a big part of what elevated it above your usual zombie film.

Question for people, what are you top zombie films? Food for though at the moment, I'd definitely put this into my top 5. I'll come back with a list of my own later on this evening :)

I too am not a horror watcher generally @Neil.T but I like a good zombie film (emphasis on good!) and I don't mind a good thriller from time to time, Korea seem to make the best thriller films.
Train to Busam certainly. As others have said 28 Days Later as well. But then these would be on a list of my top horror films outright along with Alien as genuinely good. But I also enjoy watching so bad they're good horror. Especially in a group with mates. It can be so fun to do! CarousHell was an especially silly and fun one to watch.
You've reminded me that Parasite's streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 🤔

I need to watch that to see what all the fuss is.
It's a cracking film. Tbh pretty much all if his films are brilliant. Making of a Murderer, Mother, The Host, Snowpiercer they're all incredibly different but brilliant films.
Thirst (a surprisingly infrequently talked about entry from the well known director of Old Boy).
Haven't seen that film in years but I do remember thoroughly enjoying it!
 

WMD

Mad Scientist
Seoul Station

Watched this last night as probably wont have the time tonight.

Its interesting how much more overt the political/class elements are in this film over the first one. The homeless getting blamed by the police, the police and military going against innocent people not yet turned which actually makes the problem much worse. I'm sure that's a comment on the powers that be being incompetent. The refusal to take responsibility in a crisis but have to wait for orders (the train driver was like that in the last film and the police chief at the barricade was the same).

The only thing that really bugged me was the finale. Like I get it - the whole man is the real enemy trope - but theres a zombie apocalypse going on and this guy is only worried about getting paid. Like seriously?! And the number of stupid things the girl does; constantly running into unknown areas and shouting. I'm amazed she lasted as long as she did quite frankly.

On the whole I did enjoy it though. The character dynamics worked well, the action was solid, the descent of the city into uncontrolled madness was well realised. I was genuinely sad when the old man got shot!
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
Seoul Station

I couldn't watch this one, the artwork got to me, blurring to mask poor motion, dodgy looking characters, I didn't like any of the cast within the first 20 mins or so. For me this was a huge letdown vs the excellence of the Train to Busan film. I think making this animated was a mistake, this would have been a lot better live action I think.
 

Lordhippos

Thousand Master
First to come to mind is the excellent 28 Days Later and then the wonderful homage to the creative process that is One Cut of the Dead

Train to Busam certainly. As others have said 28 Days Later as well

Yeah 28 days later is like this, just very well made, so not surprised you both liked it. Not seen One Cut of the Dead or even heard of it.

Another favourite of mine is Dawn of the Dead I just love the idea of holding up in a shopping mall against the apocalypse.
 

WMD

Mad Scientist
Seoul Station

I couldn't watch this one, the artwork got to me, blurring to mask poor motion, dodgy looking characters, I didn't like any of the cast within the first 20 mins or so. For me this was a huge letdown vs the excellence of the Train to Busan film. I think making this animated was a mistake, this would have been a lot better live action I think.
Shame you couldnt get into it but I guess that's how it goes sometimes. At least theres the sequel to look forward too.


Also cant believe I forgot to mention Shaun of the Dead on my list of Zombie films. That's a another properly good film.
 
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WMD

Mad Scientist
Watched last night as I've got DnD tonight so may not have time for it.

Peninsula

I like that went down a different route with this one, like Alien and Aliens, this one had more action than horror but was still a great film. It started out so heavy with leaving the family behind and then the carnage on the boat all foreshadowing the loss of morals and society that would befall the survivors on the peninsula. Having the mum and kids come back around was a great storytelling touch!

The parts at the "military" base were very dystopian and grimey. Almost in a dirty sci fi way. The car based action got a bit too physics defying at times but was great spectacle nonetheless. I also liked when the main character went all John Wick on the bad guys during the escape scene. Though I was sad/annoyed that the brother died even though the whole mess was caused just to save him!

I really liked all the character dynamics as well. You felt like everyone had a story even if we didn't see their actual backstories. And was nice to round out the series with the most happy ending of the 3 films. They've been pretty bleak films by and large.

I noticed with this film that theres a through line in these films about parents. Bad parents, parents who redeem themselves, fake parents and good parents. They mostly die! I was starting to wonder that the writers of these films seriously dont like their parents when it looked like mum was gona kill herself. Luckily it gave the chance to the main character to rewrite his past and overcome his trauma which was a nice end to his story, the film and the trilogy as a whole.

Overall Train to Busan was my favourite followed by Peninsula with Seoul Station last but I've enjoyed all 3 and really glad to have experienced them!
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
Haven't seen that film in years but I do remember thoroughly enjoying it!
Me too! Think I will crack out my old dvd to watch this season alongside Blood heh.
Not seen One Cut of the Dead or even heard of it.
I hadn't either until that top tip, which is a real shame as maybe it should've been marketed better, even if nothing else then at least by the critics (unless I just missed any hype that may have been). Highly recommend it, especially if you don't mind some comedy alongside your zombies. Can't delve into its brilliance without spoiling it, so I'd say to everyone to just take a chance on it even if not fans of horror.
Also cant believe I forgot to mention Shaun of the Dead on my list of Zombie films. That's a another properly good film.
That's a top one as well, really well made. Good to see some of the best zombie movies coming from our shores. On zombie movies, another one I really liked is REC, I thought that was a great take on zombie horror using the now ubiquitous found-footage format. And on horror again, I fully agree with you on Alien - absolute classic (and probably the first movie I ever remember watching as a kid!)
 

WMD

Mad Scientist
Decided to go back and watch all the making ofs for the films

Train to Busan
A single 17min making of for this one. Everyone is so polite and nice! It's very odd to see a film as intense as this one from behind the scenes where it always looks so gentle and easy to make. But it was nice to get the impression that people got on and everyone worked hard on it. It was interesting how much the actors were doing without stunt people. Like the bit where the guy heaves his pregnant wife off the escalotor. They just did that and only had a mat on the stairs for her to land on.

Seoul Station
One 15min making if here and it was mostly focused on the voice acting. What was interesting is that this was made in the hollywood way where all the voice actors went in one at a time and recorded their lines and then the animation was made to their final recordings. (Rather than the Japanese anime way of doing the animation and then having the actors all I the studio at the same time going scene by scene.) This made the actors happy and more liberated as the director gave them full license to play with the script and modify lines and do different takes to find the ones that work best.

Peninsula
A series of featurettes totaling only 8 mins! Was hoping it would be more. Here they make up the director, main character, mum and eldest daughter in what's one interview cut into segments. It is fun to here their differing views on how easy the action was. The MC being an actor clearly well versed in action compared to the rest. Otherwise it's a bit light and mostly the four of them complimenting each other and pretending to be surprised and flattered about it.

Something I totally had not realised until watching these is that all 3 films have the same director! That's some crazy creative vision to make 3 such distinctly different films in the same universe! Fair play to him.
 
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