Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's a crucial period for her, too.

If movies have taught me anything, there's an undeniable magic when it comes to riding the rails.

Literally so, I suppose, when Harry and Ron first boarded the Hogwart's Express. Or when those creepy dead-eyed kids headed to the North Pole with Tom Hanks in The Polar Express.

Remember the trip the three brothers took through India in the Darjeeling Limited? It was so enchanting it made trekking through the set of Slumdog Millionaire look something I'd give my right arm for. Hell, even in something like Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 [review], a simple commute home from work on the train had the chance to be a (mind)blowing experience.

But what movies have also taught me about the train? Well, when it's not romantic and whimsical?

It's an inescapable, unrelenting clusterf--k of pain and suffering, where your life expectancy goes from number of years to number of cars in an instant.

So, yeah. It's pretty f--king magical regardless.

Yet another foreign film that could have killed at the domestic box-office if given the chance, South Korea's Train to Busan is everything action/horror junkies could ever ask for. Set aboard a high-speed commuter rail in the early stages of a zombie outbreak, Sang-ho Yeon's flick is as brilliant as it is relentless. Even if bloodthirsty Koreans aren't chasing you down, this is one train you've got to catch.

Yoo Gong (the dude from Silenced [review]) plays Seok Woo, a father so entrenched in work that his family has become an afterthought. After yet another dismal birthday has left her broken-hearted, Woo's lovely little daughter Soo-an begs to be taken to her mom's house as soon as possible. It's an hour's train ride away, but Woo has no choice. They'll leave first thing in the morning.

Like any of us getting up to travel when it's still dark, Woo is a bit bleary eyed as they board the high speed train. He doesn't even notice the weird lady who staggers aboard as they are just about to depart. Hell, he doesn't even notice the incident unfolding at the station they've just left. He's got to be at work soon. Just a quick round trip to Busan and it's back to the grind, you know? No big deal. Hell, he might even catch a few more winks once this train gets moving.

And that, friends, was maybe the first ten minutes of Train to Busan, and it was also the last ten minutes where all f--king Hell hadn't broken loose. As break-neck as any film I can remember, this flick never lets up. It just goes from bad to worse, to f--k this, you can eat me for an hour and a half straight. I started this in the middle of Bridget Jones's Baby (my wife had fallen asleep) and about three minutes in she woke up and was f--king hooked.  I've never heard her gasp so much in my life. Oh, f--k you, wiseguy. I meant during a movie.

It's weird how energizing something so impossibly bleak can be.
Sure, there's some over-the-top melodrama mixed in there, and a score that sometimes belongs in a Hallmark Christmas movie (that moment when the little girl finally hugs Santa comes to mind), but I'd argue it's a damn near perfect new-school zombie movie. This shit is high-stakes from the moment the train departs and it even takes some shots at your heart, which cheap or not, were painfully effective.

Speaking of things you didn't expect to make you so sad, here are those pathetic bastards, the Yays and Boos. We're pretty sure we're the only people in the history of time that made an impromptu double feature out of Korean zombies and British wankers, and we're quite proud of that actually. And yes, this is the moment where you should feel bad for us, because, yes. That's the kind of shit that impresses us.

I hope one day to be as good a father as this dude.
And  he doesn't even have a kid....yet.
  • Was it Tommy Boy or Black Sheep? Whichever it was...that deer is back from the dead. Uh, that's not good.
  • I love in these types of movies there's a string of emergency service vehicles...and it's just a passing curiosity for the characters. But for us? Foreshadowing.
  • Dude, a high school baseball team is on the train. A high school. Baseball team. I know, right? *whispers* Those guys have bats.
  • Yep, you saw it too. Evil Dead Cam! Fantastic!
  • Oh, but you want to know fantastic? Check out that Big Dude in the picture above. HOLY F--KING SHIT is this guy my hero. Honestly. If anyone anywhere makes a top ten list of best characters in 2016 and this dude's not on it, take a riot shield a baton to their house and f--k them up in the most noble way possible. Tell 'em Dong-seok Ma sent you.
  • That newspapering the door trick was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. Unbelievably smooth, right? That shit is even cooler than the cell-phone trick (which was pretty f--king rad, too).
  • There are some overhead shots of the train station that are so f--king epic, it makes my eyes widen just thinking about them.
  • As does the score...when it's not being schmaltzy. Oh, and it's my ears that are know, assuming that's a thing.
  • Everything that happens at the Daejeon Station is the stuff of legend. Few action films ever have had a more perfectly staged ten minutes than what goes down here. It's so f--king intense, I could hardly handle it. Asshole! Come on!
  • And finally, the finale. The action. The tragedy. All of it. I expected to get my ass kicked, my arm broken, and my brain eaten. But my heart? I didn't think zombies gave a damn about the heart.
Right. Let me be in the worst situation of my life. Alone.
With my daughter. 
  • Oh, man. That was the worst birthday present ever. Thanks a lot, Guy at Office.
  • Aw...her recital footage. Poor kid.
  • Speaking of the little girl, what the shit, Soo-an? Can't you hold it til we get there?
  • That homeless dude on the train really scared me for awhile. I know, I'm sorry. But in this situation...well, f--k you, I assumed he was one of them.
  • It really, really sucks to run out of cars when you're running from motherf-king zombies on a motherf--king train, right? Well, here, we've got something worse. They ain't in the last car, they ain't in the first car. Nope. Our crew is trapped right in the middle.
  • Our main dude, Woo, makes some pretty terrible choices. Fine, his hand may have been forced, but good God, he f--ks up just about everything he can. At least early on, anyway.
  • Seriously? WHITE SUBTITLES? What the f--k is this? The guy's wearing a white shirt!!!
  • He's kinda so bad he almost takes you out of the movie (like, no one on Earth would ever be this f--king selfish), but COO Guy is the f--king worst. You might think he's going to eventually redeem himself...but you'd be wrong. And C-ck of the Year goes to...
  • Actually, we've got some last minute entries. In a twenty-three way tie for second place...EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON ON THE TRAIN!
  • That moment when you have to kill all of your old friends....yikes.
  • Dude...that old lady? That shit was hardcore. I'm not even sure I can get behind that level of f--kery, even if they deserved it.
  • Not gonna got a little cheesy near the end. Like, extra extra cheesy. 
  • And finally, look, you had me on the verge as it was okay? But then you throw that flashback on me? Not cool, guys. Not cool.
Okay, so it seems like trains are basically a no go. 

And planes are clearly out. When they're not filled with snakes, or mummies, or terrorists trying to kill Jack Ryan, they crash into mountains, forcing us to eat one another. 

What's that leave us with? Boats? Nope. Somali pirates will kill us. Or they'll crash into icebergs and I'll do seventeen flips before freezing to death.

How the f--k am I supposed to get anywhere?

Oh, right. That's a trick question.

You're supposed to stay in your house and watch scary movies.

Nothing bad ever happens when you do that.


  1. Nowhere is safe!!
    I never thought I would want to watch a foreign zombie movie about a train...until now! Consider this added to my list for Halloween!

    1. Nowhere is safe, indeed!

      C'mon, Allie. Don't wait till Halloween. This ride is waaaay too much fun to put off for ten months!

      (Oh, and it turns out devouring flesh in basically a universal language)

  2. I'm so psyched for this. I see Netflix gets it on DVD on the 18th, I'll definitely be bumping it to the top of my queue. Great write up!

    1. Dude, outside of being a bit sappy at times, this one is excellent! Relentlessly chaotic it's the longest string of oh f--k, what now? ever. Can't wait for you to check it out!!! Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  3. Trains...trains....Ed Harris. Right, have you seen Snowpiercer? That's the train I'd love to be trapped the main car that is.

    This looks pretty cool! And I want to know what is the deal with old lady's fuckery.

    1. I've never managed to see a minutes of Snowpiercer, and I swear that mofo is on TV every single day (not that I'd watch something on TV, ew). I've heard lots of good things (some bad), but I'm definitely intrigued. I had no idea Mr. Harris was in it. Gotta watch that one asap.

      As for this, it's realy f--king cool. Very intense! When it gets cheesy, it goes all in, but I'm still standing behind it.

      Yo...that old lady is hardcore.

    2. The movie is not something I liked and it has truly WTF ending but the concept and execution is great. It's just strange as hell. Dude, how do you read my RF? I recently recapped my journey through Snowpiercer and how Ed was in so I watched it just because of that :D He shows up near the end...but in a bathrobe. But he is not naked under it.

      So what I'm getting at is that the film is a mixed bag. But sure worthy of a watch.