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Friday, January 28, 2022

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


In this uneven yet still enjoyable follow-up to 2016's breakout success 'Train to Busan,' a group of four survivors of the zombie outbreak now living in Hong Kong head back to the South Korean peninsula to search for a truck filled with millions in US dollars only to be greeted by dangerous rogue military, even more zombies, and most surprisingly, a group of survivors with a connections to one of their past. The Blu-ray release (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital 4K UHD are also available) is excellent home theater fodder particularly with the rollicking Atmos soundtrack.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is the 2020 South Korean action/horror film from director Yeon Sang-ho that tells you exactly what it is in its title, the sequel to the 2016 international breakout success zombie thriller Train to Busan.

This time around director/co-writer Yeon Sang-ho sets the film four years after the events of the first film that saw the mysterious zombie viral outbreak begin to spread across South Korea. Now the entire South Korean peninsula is taken over and mostly overrun with zombies or those who managed to escape on boats to Hong Kong. The film opens up on one such scene with Jung Seok (Gang Dong-Won) speeding his sister and her family away to a boat headed for Hong Kong. This opening sets up the rest of the film. Chaos breaks loose on the boat and Jung Seok and his brother-in-law are the only ones from the family who make it to Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, the Koreans are treated as pariahs, as if their very presence can cause people to become infected. They are also left in a legal limbo with the government refusing to recognize them as legal refugees. That is when Jung Seok and his brother-in-law come into contact with an American crime lord who approaches them to go back to the Peninsula and head to Incheon to find a truck that has US$20 million, bring it back to Hong Kong, and they can all take a cut.

Four people, including Jung Seok, head into Incheon to get the cash and they meet up with the expected – overwhelming zombies. But there are also now rogue military forces and a few surviving humans, including one woman, Jung Min (Lee Jung-hyun) and her two daughters and father whom Jung Seok realizes has a surprising connection to his past.

This film is not what one might expect going into it if you have seen Train to Busan. The fast-moving zombies are there and some of the fast-paced action is still there a well, but it seems like Yeon tried too hard to make this sequel packed with more subplots and more homages to so many other horror and sci-fi films that it is both unfocused and unevenly paced. There are little bits of Mad Max, little bits of Fight Club, little bits of Dawn of the Dead, little bits of The Walking Dead and a number of subplots that only work to slow down the pace for long stretches of time. It doesn’t feel as immediate and edge-of-the-seat as Train. It’s still fun to watch for genre fans, but it’s not that breath of fresh air that the original was and nowhere near as exciting by the minute.

The Video

This was shot on the Arri Alexa and arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encodement. There is a 4K Ultra HD with HDR Blu-ray release, but for whatever reason I can’t seem to ever get the 4K discs out of Well Go or their PR when I request them. Am I complaining? Maybe a little bit. That said, this Blu-ray looks good and is absent of any major flaws. It has great detail and shadow detail with only the slightest hints of crush and noise in the blacks.

The Audio

Peninsula hits Blu-ray with a Korean Atmos soundtrack, so it looks like Well Go has made the transition from DTS:X to Atmos for their titles that feature object-oriented mixes. Another point to Dolby over DTS this round. Anyway, the mix is awesome. There are a lot of sounds moved around through the surround channels and good use of the height channels as well, such as when the alarm goes off during the zombie fight club scene. This mix also has very extended, terrestrial low frequencies.

The Supplements

There are a few very brief ‘making of’ featurettes with interviews are included as well as a DVD, but Well Go still does not include a Digital Copy code.

  • DVD
  • Making of and Interviews
    • The Sequel (1080p; 00:01:42)
    • The Action (1080p; 00:02:30)
    • The Director (1080p; 01:29)
    • The Characters (1080p; 00:03:03)
  • Teaser (1080p)
  • Trailer (1080p)

The Final Assessment

Well Go USA provide an excellent Blu-ray for what is a bit of a mixed bag as a sequel, but one that genre fans will still get a lot to like out of. The Atmos track will certainly heat up your home theater sound system.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is out on Blu-ray Combo & 4K Ultra HD Combo November 24, 2020 from Well Go USA Entertainment

  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Next Entertainment World | RedPeter Film | Shudder | Well Go USA Entertainment
  • Director: Yeon Sang-ho
  • Written By: Yeon Sang-ho | Yong-jae Ryu
  • Run Time: 116 Mins.
  • Street Date: 24 November 2020
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Korean Dolby Atmos (Compatible w/Dolby TrueHD 7.1)
  • Secondary Audio: Korean Stereo | English DTS-HD MA 5.1 | English Stereo
  • Subtitles: Full English | English

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