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Sang-ho Yeon
Dong-Won Gang, Jung-hyun Lee, Re Lee
Writing Credits:
Sang-ho Yeon, Ryu Yong-jae

Four years after South Korea's decimation, a former soldier returns to the peninsula on a secret mission.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Korean Dolby Atmos
Korean Dolby 2.0
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 11/24/2020

• 4 Featurettes
• Trailers & Previews
• DVD Copy


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2020)

Back in 2016, Train to Busan offered a rollicking look at a zombie attack set on a moving vehicle. With 2020’s Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, the undead kick back into action.

A virus turns humans into zombies and decimates South Korea. Four years later, the nation remains devastated by these events.

Former Marine Captain Jung Seok (Dong-Won Gang) leads a small team on a mission to Incheon to retrieve $20 million in cash. As they embark on this illicit task, they deal with threats both human and zombie.

I won’t call Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula the most awkward title I’ve heard, but it seems odd. Apparently the producers originally intended to simply call it Train to Busan 2, but since the movie involves neither trains nor the city of Busan, I guess they figured they needed an alternate.

As such, we find a title reminiscent of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. However, that one made more sense, as Shaw formed a pretty clear spinoff.

On the other hand, Peninsula feels more like a sequel in the same vein as 28 Weeks Later, and not just because they involve viruses. Both follow up the original films in a way that counts as a continuation of the narratives but they don’t use the same characters, so they differ from traditional sequels.

In this case, it makes sense that Peninsula doesn’t deliver the same protagonists of the first flick, mainly because so few survived. While the filmmakers could’ve found a way to extend those characters’ arcs, it feels more logical to go onto a new path.

The question becomes whether we find an engaging new path. Though it reinvented no wheels, Busan became a lively, engaging riff on the zombie genre, and that elevated expectations that Peninsula would work as well.

Nope. While not a bad action-horror hybrid, Peninsula lacks the emotion and energy that made the first film succeed.

On the positive side, I appreciate that Peninsula doesn’t just remake its predecessor. Whereas that one went with a Dawn of the Dead On a Train vibe, the second chapter opts for more of a Mad Max feel.

Here we get crime and survival in the proverbial post-apocalyptic wasteland. While not the most creative theme, at least it means we get a film that stands on its own and doesn’t simply redo the prior flick.

Unfortunately, Peninsula can’t find much to do with the subject matter – or at least not enough to sustain it as a creative endeavor. The movie lacks much real reason to exist, and it doesn’t find new ways to explore the material.

Peninsula starts in the most awkward manner imaginable, as it uses the conceit of an American talk show to recap the virus that plagues South Korea. This offers clumsy exposition, and the actors recruited as the host and guest seem woefully amateurish. I get the feeling the producers just grabbed the first Americans they could find, actual talent be damned.

The first act doesn’t really improve from there, as we find ourselves with fairly cliché action and bland characters. The movie only attempts exposition for Jung Seok, but even he seems dull and lackluster.

Around the 30-minute mark, matters briefly improve when we meet teen Joon-i (Re Lee) and her little sister Yu-jin (Ye-Won Lee). They enter the film in a violent blaze of glory and threaten to give the flick the spark and excitement it needs.

However, Peninsula loses steam pretty quickly, and we find ourselves back in a less than engaging tale of criminals, zombies and survival. We simply never really care that much about the various characters, and that becomes a major drop-off compared to the first movie.

In the original Busan, we got to know the protagonists pretty well and we invested in their fates. Here we just fail to find much about Jung Seok and company to make us care, and the villains lack the charisma to intrigue us as well.

It doesn’t help that Peninsula lacks a particularly interesting story. Granted, Busan wasn’t exactly a plot-heavy affair itself, but it prospered due to the basic crazed energy of the scenario.

Without that inventiveness, Peninsula tends to stagnate. The movie meanders from one character area to another without a lot of integration, and the occasional bouts of action don’t redeem the general boredom we experience.

I can’t help but feel that Peninsula doesn’t need to exist beyond an attempt to expand a burgeoning movie franchise. It never devolves into a bad cinematic experience, but it fails to come together as an exciting, dramatic tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I thought the transfer replicated the source well.

Sharpness worked fine. A few shots seemed slightly soft, but not to a problematic degree, and the majority of the film appeared accurate and well-defined.

I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also caused no concerns.

Peninsula went with a mix of amber, yellow and teal. That was fine for the movie’s visual design, so I found the hues to seem appropriate.

Blacks were dense and deep, and shadows fared well. Low-light shots delivered appropriate delineation and clarity. All in all, this became a satisfying presentation.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt pleased with the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Peninsula. A solid soundfield, it just barely lacked the ambition to reach “A”-level.

Not surprisingly, the mix came to life best during the violent sequences. Bullets, explosions and the like zipped around us and made sure that we felt as though we were part of the action.

Even during more passive sequences, the film offered a good soundscape. Music showed nice stereo presence, while environmental elements popped up in logical, natural locations. Although the mix only soared on occasion, it still formed a solid sense of atmosphere.

From start to finish, the flick boasted excellent audio quality. Speech was crisp and concise, with good intelligibility and no edginess.

Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects were very strong. They demonstrated fine clarity and accuracy, and the mix also featured positive bass response. This was a consistently engaging track.

Under Making Of and Interviews, we find four segments: “The Sequel” (1:43), “The Action” (2:31), “The Director” (1:29) and “The Characters” (3:04). Across these, we hear from director Sang-ho Yeon and actors Dong-Won Gang, Jung-hyun Lee and Re Lee.

They talk about the story, cast and performances, and Yeon’s work. We get a handful of minor insights but the chats largely emphasize movie promotion.

The disc opens with ads for Possessor, Deliver Us From Evil, and Synchronic. We also find two trailers for Peninsula.

A second disc brings a DVD copy of Peninsula. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Whereas the first flick in the series brought a clever and exciting twist on the zombie genre, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula feels purposeless – beyond the “purpose” of box office profits, that is. Disjointed, inconsistent and often oddly dull, the movie doesn’t work especially well. The Blu-ray brings strong picture and audio along with minor supplements. After the thrills of Busan, Peninsula disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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