When I heard that the gold standard Korean zombie film “Train to Busan” (which made my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list) was getting a sequel, I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. To get more of Sang-ho Yeon‘s kick-ass zombie story would be a dream come true. I’m here to tell you that “Peninsula” can be summed up in just three little words: “don’t get excited.” This boring, pointless, generic movie drags out the old “humans are the real monsters” theme and is a disappointing, drawn-out yawn.
It’s been four years since South Korea was totally decimated by a zombie attack, and the next chapter in the story is set in a post-apocalyptic world that’s run by the few survivors. Most of the country’s remaining residents have endured this diseased wasteland with a vicious kill-or-be-killed mentality. Their inhumanity has become atrocious. A solider who escaped years before is forced to relive the horror when he’s sent on a covert assignment back to the dead zone with his brother-in-law in tow, and his new objective becomes clear: he must do anything to survive.
The story is weak and lacks originality, even in the zombie kills department. There are some decent horror effects, but most the main problem with this thriller is that it doesn’t have a compelling story to tell. Everything is forgettable, from the slow setup to the dull characters. I never felt a connection to the hero of the story nor to the two young girls he attempts to rescue.
I had difficulty engaging on an emotional level. When you aren’t given a reason to form a bond with the people in the narrative, it’s impossible to care what happens to them. Aside from the opening scene, there’s close to zero weight to the dramatic moments. That’s why this sequel greatly lets down its predecessor.
It’s not even good as a standalone zombie film either. The cinematography is weak, very dim, and darkly-lit since most of the activity takes place at night. The acting ranges from pretty good to bush-league amateurish. The limited plot is stretched thin. The most exciting action comes in the form of an uninspired car chase. And the worst part of all is the ending that preaches about the power of a mother’s love.
As I said: yawn.
By: Louisa Moore