Things to know about "Train to Busan" sequel, "Peninsula"
Writer: Florey DM
Who's ready to fight more zombies?
Now that cinemas around the world are slowly coming back to life after months of pandemic-caused hibernation, they are all set to welcome the hordes of zombies that will be making their way to cinemas soon.
Who leads the cast this time around?
By zombies we don't mean you movie-starved cinephiles, we mean the literal onscreen zombies of the much-anticipated sequel to the 2016 "Train to Busan".
"Peninsula", also known as "Train to Busan 2: Peninsula" or "Train to Busan: Peninsula" in certain territories, is opening in its home country South Korea this 15 July before once again infecting (not quite literally the way the coronavirus does) the world with the zombie-loving virus.
Before catching the movie in cinemas, read on below for the things that you should know about "Peninsula".
With Gong Yoo out of the picture, the sequel needs another handsome and charismatic male lead to fill his (running) shoes – though this time around, combat boots will probably be more accurate. Enter Kang Dong-won, one of South Korea's big screen heartthrobs, as director Yeon Sang-ho's choice to play the main character, a former Marine named Jung-seok. Starring opposite the 39-year-old is singer-actress Lee Jung-hyun, playing a mysterious woman called Min-jung. Kang leads a cast that includes Kwon Hae-hyo ("Tazza: One Eyed Jack"), Kim Min-jae ("Feel Good to Die") and child star Lee Re ("Hope").
What is the story about?
The first movie read more like a heart-warming family drama, albeit one with zombies chasing everyone down. This second movie is more "Mad Max" meets "Akira", according to director Yeon himself. It's an action-packed zombie fest all the way. Set four years after the events of "Train to Busan", the South Korean peninsula is now a quarantined zone. Jung-seok, who barely escaped alive, is now living in Hong Kong but returns to the peninsula after receiving an offer for a covert military operation. His mission is to retrieve an abandoned truck in the middle of Seoul, which does not go as planned when he and his team are ambushed by a mysterious militia. After getting rescued by a woman named Min-jung, he must now plan his escape from the peninsula.
Is it still set on a train?
As with its predecessor, the sequel's title alludes to its setting. The new movie escapes the tight confines of train carriages and finds itself thrown into a vast wasteland, once the proud nation of K-pop, K-wave, everything K, but is now just ruins infested with zombies and a few mostly feral human survivors. As director Yeon explained to Screen Daily, he named the movie "Peninsula" because there is nothing left of Korea except the geographical traits of the location, with the government authority having been decimated after the zombie outbreak. Handed a bigger budget this time around, Yeon has the chance to play around in a larger setting, with more polished special effects and action scenes. Make no mistake, the setting might not be as claustrophobic as the last but this has not dialled the intensity any lower. In fact, as star Jung-hyun stated, the zombies are even faster here; that's sure to keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the movie.
Is this the second movie in the franchise?
While it is a sequel, which usually identifies as a second instalment of a movie series, "Peninsula" technically counts as the third movie. That's because after "Train to Busan" wrecked its box office competitors in 2016, an animated film titled "Seoul Station" that serves as its prequel was released the following year. Also helmed by Yeon Sang-ho, from a script he wrote himself, the animated prequel might not have infected cinephiles the way the first live-action film did, but it managed to hold its own with the glowing reviews its garnered from critics. Now let's see if the third movie, a.k.a. sequel "Peninsula", will once again spread the zombie virus. (Giving movie-lovers momentary respite from the actual virus that's been devastating the world since earlier this year).
Cinema Online, 11 July 2020