Train to Busan (부산행) Movie Review


I’m a fan of both zombie apocalypse and Korean movies, so when I heard that there is a Korean zombie apocalypse movie playing in Jakarta, I got very hyped. Not only because the main cast is handsome, but I was curious how Korean would make a zombie apocalypse movie. In Indonesia, the movie has taken Korean movie fans by storm for sure.


The movie is titled “Train to Busan (부산행)”. Directed by Yeon Sang Ho, the movie tells a story of a single father, Seok Woo (played by Gong Yoo) who takes his daughter, Soo Ahn (played by child actress Kim Soo Ahn) to meet her mother in Busan. They have a rather ‘broken’ relationship because Seok Woo barely spends any time with Soo Ahn. In my opinion, this is a perfect setting for a zombie movie—where they will fix the broken relationship.

In the early morning, they board the KTX train to Busan at Seoul Station. As they board to the train, Sang Ho finely sets up the characters: elderly sisters, a pregnant wife and her soft-hearted husband, conductors, a group of baseball team, and an obnoxious businessman (which is a vision of Seok Woo in a couple of years).


However, nobody notices that a wounded woman boards to the train just before the train departs. Yes as you guessed, the woman is actually infected. A stewardess finds her in a carriage, her body is jolting furiously. When the stewardess asks for the help from her colleague, the infected woman attacks her from behind. These 2 infected women then attack other passengers in the car, and so it goes.

In a matter of minutes, the whole carriage becomes a mindless killing machine. Fortunately, the people in the first class car where Seok Woo and other characters are, get the time to lock the inter-carriage door and save themselves. The movie then continues on how the main characters attempt to survive and escape from the zombie-filled train.


At first I didn’t expect too much about the movie. I only wanted to ‘satisfy’ my routine dose of thriller movies. But the movie really went beyond my expectation. I don’t know, either it is because my low expectations or the movie is just that good.

Many people say that this movie is the Korean version of Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” that was released in 2013. Yes, in some part, the movie does look similar. The zombie outbreak is moving rapidly, the zombies are sensitive to noises, and how the story revolves in the survival of families.


The movie is filled with desperation, frustration, and hopelessness with a huge load of gory scene, scary faces, and sharp teeth. And the fact that the main casts are trapped in a speeding train, while the whole country has turned into a dead place with thousands of zombies, it is really suffocating. During the movie I felt like I’ve run for miles without reaching the finish point.

Just like other Korean movies, Train to Busan also filled with emotional scenes. I could picture the life of a child who is also a victim of divorce (Soo Ahn), how her father only cares for money and his company, and how she lives far away from her mother. So when they are on the way to Busan and fighting to stay alive, it really drove me crazy—the questions whether they can meet Soo Ahn’s mother or not really made my head  (and heart) aching.


One of the interesting things about this movie is how it depicts our modern society. How some people care only for themselves and just let the weak suffers. It depicts how karma works, how one’s selfishness only will bring harm to themselves. This movie, as I grasped, tells us how we still need other people in our life, and how we can actually give other people one ray of hope.

Although the movie slows down after the first hour, but the ending is satisfying. The cause of infection and apocalypse are explained very briefly, but that’s enough. However I am still curious on how the country solves the apocalypse. I couldn’t help but compare it to World War Z, where the main cast finds the ‘cure’ for the disease.

Yes, we lost one of the most important character of the movie (and it will make you cry), but the movie is really entertaining. You will get the horror, the thrill, and the emotion that you would expect from a typical Korean drama. Oh, and you might want to call your Dad right away after watching this movie and say that you love him.

In Indonesia, you can watch this movie at CGV Blitz and Cinemaxx. Don’t miss it!

by Fauziah Listyo Ayunani