Peninsula can’t match as much as the magic of Practice to Busan


Johnson Thomas

It has been four years since Train to Busan, and Yeon Sang-ho comes up with yet another signature zombie outing. We see a totally devastated South Korea with a few survivors running helter-skelter to save themselves from the overrunning zombie attacks. The country looks shattered with its once-ultra-modern cities reduced to ruins. In this edition, Incheon is the city being destroyed.

The port city is now an urban graveyard of destroyed bridges, buildings and modes of transport. The challenge here is to survive the infestation of zombies and eventually have enough brawn to overcome the greedy batches of antagonists looking to loot, pillage and fashion cheap thrills.

Four Korean refugees in Hong Kong are entrusted with the task of retrieving a truck load of dollars, but a task that seems easy under the guise of darkness (because zombies can’t see at night) becomes fraught with unheralded risks, including the menace of a rogue outfit of mercenaries known as Unit 361.

The zombies here are not as much of a threat as the desperado mercenaries spearheading a Mad Max like base with unarmed humans as prey for their ‘Hunter Games’. A large part of the narrative is devoted to chase sequences in fortified abandoned vehicles.

The heavy use of CGI creates a whole lot of visual thrills but it’s not enough to give this regurgitated spinoff, which borrows its many ideas from a range of end of the world scenarios, a fresh new appeal. While the thrills here don’t have the power and overwhelming appeal of those experienced in Train to Busan, they nevertheless fulfill the role of delivering an adrenaline rush just when the momentum appears to be sliding off.

Hollywood influences are clearly visible here and that in fact takes a lot away from the genuine artistry of the Korean original. While the opening sequence sets-up well for an intriguing karma-slanted endplay, the middle section appears rather flaccid and directionless. This one is certainly not as tense an experience as Train to Busan, yet it’s not without its fair share of virtues.



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