Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Candidate #6

(May 2016)

I'll say it right up front: if you watch a lot of zombie cinema, then you’ve seen this movie before.

Yes, they’re speaking in Korean, and sure, we’re on a speeding train, but you’ve got the Sudden Outbreak, the Initially Unlikely Hero, the Somewhat Obnoxious Guy Who May or May Not Prove to Be Heroic After All, the Characters Who Will Need Extra Protection (in this case, we have a Child and an Expectant Mother), and yes, of course we have the A$$hole.
And believe you me, the specimen we have here, played by Kim Eui-sung is like, Lord Emperor A$$hole.

Despite the familiarity of the character types and the beats though--there are a number of Sacrifices here, both of the Voluntary, and definitely Not Voluntary type, as well as Moments of Pathos, where the music swells and we’re moved to reach for a box of tissues--it cannot be denied that Yeon Sang-ho’s Busanhaeng is an effective entry in zombie cinema, and as such, worthy of some ¡Q horror! love.
(Unless of course, you’re a Slow Zombie loyalist, in which case, do not apply; Busanhaeng sports adrenalized, occasionally contortionist zombies.)

Thus, given where the film positions itself on the narrative spectrum, there is also no significant Romero sociopolitical subtext here, the biggest takeaway perhaps being this tried and tested law in zombie cinema: no matter how bad things get, there’s always going to be an a$$hole who’ll make things even worse…

(Busanhaeng quad courtesy of twitter.com.)

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