Sunday, May 23, 2021

TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)

Forty-five minutes of interesting, WORLD WAR Z-inspired zombie action and over an hour of predictable, emotional bullshit that I didn’t give one single zombie fart about.

Office worker Seo Seok-woo is separated from his wife. Their daughter, who lives with him, wants to visit her mother for her birthday, so Seo and his daughter take the…train to Busan!!! Before they leave, anybody with even an ounce of observational skills would notice that things are starting to get out of control, but no, not this guy. Example: while driving to the train station, Seo notices that a skyscraper is literally engulfed in flames, he calmly states “Looks like something's happening.” Wow…ya think?! Once on the train, despite a riot breaking out on the platform as they leave, Seo decides the best course of action is to take a nap. He wakes up with his daughter missing and a full on zombie death metal circle pit breaking out on the train.  That sounds cool, and it is...kinda, for a few minutes, but not really.

Hit or miss special effects, highly predictable story, twitchy zombies that look like they got ants in their pants, lots of people way too dumb to live, annoying kid, disjointed social commentary that distracted from the story, easily 30 minutes of talking that could have been cut (or better yet…replaced with zombie action!) mild blood, a cheerleader, zero gore, all of the zombies fully dressed, alternating fast / slow pacing, a lot of smartphone use, terrible musical score that didn't even match the events onscreen, zero interesting characters, zombie deer, stupid ending that made me want to dropkick my TV through the fucking wall.

Despite its many flaws, TRAIN TO BUSAN is still worth watching for zombie fans.  The action scenes themselves (while nothing new) are still fun. I also liked that the majority of the action took place in the daytime. I’d totally be down to watch a TV show based in this film’s world…as long as they replaced the sappy, slow-moving, emotional garbage with zombies ripping out necks. And more cheerleaders.

[Not really part of the review, but as an experiment, I went back and watched the majority of the film in 2x speed with the subtitles on and it was fine. I watched the action scenes at normal speed and the talking stuff in 2x and it was more enjoyable. Hell, if you were really pressed for time, you could start the film at 11:02 minutes in. Absolutely nothing in the scenes leading up to that was worth a fuck. And then, to save a fisthole in your TV, just skip the sappy ending completely.]

Prequel - Seoul Station (2016)
Part 2 - Peninsula (2020)

THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK (1971)

Scientist Dean Jones is living beyond his means. He has a nice house in a good neighborhood, a wife, a kid…and a pile of overdue bills a mile high! Life is looking pretty bleak. It also doesn’t help that his wife is so intellectually disabled that she’d fit right in with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in DUMB AND DUMBER. I’m not kidding. As the film begins, she trying to "economize" by making homemade apple sauce with cinnamon, mustard, curry powder and garlic for Dean’s work lunch. Yeah, that’s going to keep the bill collectors away. Anyway, Dean goes to work and a duck in his lab eats the apple sauce and then accidentally gets radiated. If this was a horror movie, the duck would start ripping out necks and pecking people’s peckers with his evil beak, but this is a Disney movie, so instead, it starts shitting out gold eggs all over the joint. You’d think that would be a good thing, but since Dean, who’s not the brightest bulb himself, surrounds himself with only idiots, everything quickly gets way out of control.

For what it is, THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK is a fun film. Quick pace, goofy story, Herman and the Purple Cows on the radio, some absolutely adorable women's fashions on Sandy Duncan, a few laughs, an impressive cast full of familiar faces, interesting old laws about hoarding gold, vintage cars and fashions, an old Jack in the Box sign, a dangerous-looking duck stunt that made me sad, some place called "Gay 90's" (sadly, I think it was a restaurant), a Richard Nixon impersonation, a wacky car chase, Kurt Russell's father (Bing Russell), a confusing ending that left me with a lot of unanswered questions. TMDD might be dated, but it’s still an enjoyable ride.  I've seen it a number of times over the years and always smile.

Also, the title THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK is just a great name for a film. I’d love to see a remake, or maybe even a prequel that explains how Dean Jones and Sandy Duncan’s characters ever got together in the first place! That’s gotta be an interesting story!