Runtime: 1h 56m
Rated: Not Rated
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Writers: Sang-ho Yeon, Ryu Yong-jae
Stars: Dong-won Gang, Lee Jung-hyun, Re Lee
“Why did you save me earlier?”
“Dad told us we should help the weak before he went to heaven. You looked weak.”
Initial: I had just watched Train to Busan (2016) for the first time when I heard that it was getting a sequel. I was not excited. I’m not even a fan of the zombie sub-genre, but Train to Busan was *good*. But then I heard that Peninsula was pretty good, and ElenaSquareEyes referred to it as a heist movie, so, yeah, that got me.
Production Notes: But I’m not going to call it Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula because that’s worse nomenclature than putting “2” on it.
What Did I Think:
Peninsula is like if you took The Fast and the Furious, made it a zombie movie, and added a dash of Mad Max. It is, of course, not as good as Train to Busan. Heck, you don’t even need to see that film to enjoy this one. Everything you need to know about the “rules” of these zombies is presented clearly at the top of this movie. While the talking-head interview that is used to convey this information is a little cheesy, I appreciate that this movie is always clear about what’s going on. That is actually necessary for any sort of “heist” plot—where are we going, why are we going there, what are the potential complications. Peninsula almost over-does it when making sure we have that information.
Some of the action felt a little video-game-y. The vehicles occasionally didn’t have the right sort of heft and were pretty much indestructible. I did really like that all the competent drivers in the film were women. There is also an inventiveness to how the characters use the environment, including the zombies, that I really enjoyed. It doesn’t quite have the heart that Train to Busan, but I’m not cynical enough to roll my eyes at its attempt. Too often horror movies are just about a character surviving other people being awful. Maybe I’m a sap, but I think horror as a genre can also highlight characters being noble.
I liked it, and I will leave you with the fact that I also like 28 Weeks Later (2007). Both that film and Peninsula have first chapters that are superior, but both sequels offer something on their own as well.