Train to Busan (Korean: 부산행; RR: 'Busanhaeng', Hanja:釜山行) is a 2016 South Korean zombie apocalypse action thriller film directed by Yeon Sang-ho and starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, and Ma Dong-seok. The film mostly takes place on a train to Busan, as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out in the country and compromises the safety of the passengers.
The story begin when a truck carrying goods is allowed to pass through an area that has a leak caused by biotech plant. At that time, the truck driver did not see a deer passing in the middle of the road so that the dead deer turned into a zombie.
Seok-woo, a divorced fund manager, is a workaholic and absentee father to his young daughter Su-an. For her birthday she asks her father to take her to Busan to see her mother. The next day they board the KTX 101 at Seoul Station. Other passengers include Sang-hwa and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong, a high school baseball team, the rich and egotistical COO Yong-suk, elderly sisters In-gil and Jong-gil, and a traumatised homeless man.
As the train departs, a convulsing young woman boards the train with a bite wound on her leg. She turns into a zombie and attacks a train attendant, who also turns. The virus quickly spreads throughout the as they attack other passengers. Baseball player Yong-guk, cheerleader Jin-hee, who has a crush on him, and several passengers escape to another car and lock the doors. News broadcasts report zombie outbreaks (reported as riots) nationwide. After the train stops at Daejeon station, the surviving passengers find the city and station overrun, and they hastily retreat back to the train, splitting up into different train cars in the chaos. The conductor restarts the train to head to Busan, where a quarantine zone has reportedly been established.
Seok-woo, Sang-hwa and Yong-guk fight their way to where Su-an, In-gil, Seong-kyeong and the homeless man are hiding. Together, they struggle through the zombie horde to the front train car, where the other passengers are sheltered. At the instigation of Yon-suk, the passengers prevent the survivors from entering, fearing that they are infected. Sang-hwa and In-gil sacrifice themselves to give the others time to force open the door and enter the car. Yon-suk demands that the newcomers isolate themselves in the vestibule. When Jong-gil deliberately opens the door to the zombies to be with her zombified sister In-gil, the zombies kill the rest of the passengers, leaving Seok-woo, Su-an, Seong-kyeong, Yong-guk, Jin-hee and the homeless man safe. Yon-suk and the train attendant escape the onslaught by hiding in the bathroom.
A blocked track at East Daegu train station forces the survivors to stop and search for another train. In the process, Seok-woo, Seong-kyeong, Su-an, and the homeless man are separated from Yong-guk and Jin-hee. Yon-suk escapes after using the train attendant as a distraction, and then does the same with Jin-hee. Heartbroken, Yong-guk stays with Jin-hee and is soon bitten by her. The train conductor starts a locomotive on another track but, is also killed by zombies whilst trying to save Yon-suk. The homeless man sacrifices himself to let Su-an and Seong-kyeong escape with Seok-woo into the train the conductor had activated. They encounter Yon-suk in the motorman's cab, on the verge of turning into a zombie, having been bitten when the train conductor saved him. Seok-woo fights him off, but is bitten in the process. He puts Su-an and Seong-kyeong inside the engine room and says goodbye to his daughter before moving outside. As he zombifies, he thinks of the first time he held his daughter in his arms as a baby and throws himself off the locomotive with a smile.
Su-an and Seong-kyeong get off at Busan and begin walking through a train tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel are soldiers stationed to defend the perimeter against zombies. Unable to see the new arrivals clearly, the soldiers at the checkpoint are instructed to shoot them. However, the soldiers then hear singing, which makes them realize the newcomers are human. Su-an tearfully sings the song "Aloha ʻOe" she had wanted to perform for her father at her recital near the beginning of the film.
- Gong Yoo as Seok-woo, a fund manager obsessed with his work
- Kim Su-an as Su-an, Seok-woo's young daughter who wants to go to Busan to see her mother
- Jung Yu-mi as Seong-kyeong, Sang-hwa's pregnant wife
- Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa, a tough, working-class man
- Choi Woo-shik as Yong-guk, a young baseball player
- Sohee as Jin-hee, Yong-guk's close friend, and cheerleader
- Kim Eui-sung as Yon-suk, a rich COO
- Choi Gwi-hwa as a homeless man
- Jung Suk-yong as Conductor, Captain of KTX
- Ye Soo-jung as In-gil
- Park Myung-sin as Jong-gil
- Jang Hyuk-jin as Ki-chul, a train attendant
- Kim Chang-hwan as Kim Jin-mo
- Kim Yool-ho as Man in suit
- Shim Eun-kyung as Teenager Girl
Train to Busan grossed $93.1 million worldwide. It became the highest-grossing Korean film in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It recorded more than 11 million moviegoers in South Korea.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% rating based on 87 critics, and an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique – and purely entertaining – take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film an average score of 72 based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly wrote that the film "borrows heavily from World War Z in its depiction of the fast-moving undead masses while also boasting an emotional core the Brad Pitt-starring extravaganza often lacked," adding that "the result is first-class throughout." At The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis selected the film as her "Critic's Pick" and took notice of its subtle class warfare. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, who directed the BAFTA nominated zombie-comedy Shaun of the Dead, was a big fan of the film. Wright recommended the film in a tweet and called it the "best zombie movie I've seen in forever."
In contrast, the negative reviews have described the film as "Snowpiercer with zombies." David Ehrlich of IndieWire comments that "as the characters whittle away into archetypes (and start making senseless decisions), the spectacle also sheds its unique personality."
An animated prequel, Seoul Station, also directed by Yeon, was released less than a month later.
Remake and Sequel
Variety said in December 2016 that Gaumont would remake Train to Busan in English. On September 25, 2018, Deadline reports James Wan will be producing the remake with Gary Dauberman writing the script.
South Korean director Yeon Sang-ho is working on a sequel to Train to Busan with the title Peninsula.
Peninsula a movie that is said to be showing the events four years after Train to Busan and also directed by Yeon, and was released in July 2020. Yeon has stated that, "Peninsula is not a sequel to Train to Busan because it's not a continuation of the story, but it happens in the same universe."
- Train to Busan is the first South Korean zombie film
- Also, The first live action film created by Yeon Sang-ho