Peninsula movie cast: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Koo Kyo-hwan, Lee Re
Peninsula movie director: Yeon Sang-ho
Peninsula movie rating: Two and a half stars
Four years after Train To Busan comes stand-alone sequel Peninsula, swarming with flesh-eating zombies, an army unit gone rogue, a family taking refuge in a hide-out, and an army man on a mission. There was a hurtling urgency in the former; the latter feels more like a film belonging to these times, blighted by a dangerous virus, with everyone struggling to survive.
Survival is the name of the game in zombie films. In the train where the passengers were in danger of being gobbled, safety lay in the destination. On the dark, dystopian peninsula, there are no safe zones. Former marine corps captain (Dong-won) and his companions, having parachuted in to look for an abandoned truck full of cash, are on the run: ranged on the other side are the zombies, and humans who have become zombie-like in their greed for flesh. The only oasis is a family unit comprising a determined mother (Jung-hyun) of two astonishingly resourceful young girls, and their grandpa.
What ensues is the expected: jerky, bloody zombies running after trucks and armoured cars, jumping upon the unfortunate victims with ghastly chomping noises. Apart from the frequent chase sequences, zombies and imprisoned humans are made to square up in an underground fight club run by a vicious fellow (Kyo-hwan), only the lucky ones managing to live for another day, and more chomp-chomp.
It’s an unlovely bunch which doesn’t really make us care whether they live or die. Only when the mum-and-girls join the fray does the film get a welcome human touch, making us ignore the overwhelming CGI bits. A satirical remark about N Korea being a ‘safe place’ provides throwaway humour: some more on those lines would have added an edge. That, and the fact that the zombies who cower in the dark are attracted to light, running towards every flare they see, is done too literally. I’m not spilling any secrets when I tell you that it ends with a strong dose of schmaltz, but maybe that’s what our virus-laden lives need, at this moment.