Peninsula is a 2020 zombie-apocalypse horror movie directed by Sang-ho Yeon and starring Dong-Won Gang, Jung-hyun Lee and Re Lee.
A sequel to 2016’s smash hit Train to Busan, Peninsula tackles a similar theme in a bigger set. After the events of the first film, the Korean peninsula has been overrun by zombies and everything’s lost there. Former Marine captain Jung-seok goes back to the zombie-infested wasteland, after running away from there, to retrieve a truck full of American money. However, coming back probably isn’t as easy.
Train to Busan was a great zombie movie. It tackled the similar theme of a zombie apocalypse, and put it inside a train. This acted like a suspense-filled bomb which made us sit at the edge of our seats throughout its runtime, and make us weep a bit for its likeable characters too. With Peninsula, the stakes are higher. It’s taking place in a bigger capacity and the characters, too, are large in number. Inspite of the almost-2-hour runtime, the movie fails to deliver the tension that we got with its predecessor.
First of all, the characters in the movie are not fleshed out that well. Except for the connection Jung-seok and Min-jung, there’s hardly any character background here. This means that you hardly care for these characters when some of them eventually die. It makes watching the movie less thrilling, because you’re not rooting for their survival. Furthermore, the movie also ends on a familiar tone, with no major twists that we couldn’t anticipate, unlike Train to Busan. Sure, it’s unfair to compare two different movies, but when the first part is that good, comparison kinda comes into play.
Moreover, the movie is laden with car-chase sequences. There’s a very long one in the end which, after a while, feels extremely repetitive and, frankly, boring. It also does not help that the scenes felt like I was watching some video game. The CGI does not do justice, and it takes away from the overall feel of the movie. Additionally, too much attention is focused on the villains of the film, Sergeant Hwang and Captain Seo. There are more frightening enemies at play, and the focus was mostly not on them.
However, Peninsula’s cinematography is excellent. Even the drab and decaying Korea looks beautiful and mysterious because of it.
If you remember the 2-hours of Train to Busan, you’ll remember that every minute of that movie was impeccable. I still remember crying when I had finished watching it. However, Peninsula does not hold the same charm. It’s patchy and boring in a lot of places.
Scenes tend to feel forced and unnecessary, and the lack of good character-building seriously showed through the runtime. We are not emotionally invested in these people, and thus, there’s no actual thrill. It also has to be taken into consideration that, when you’re inside a tight space, there are only a handful of places you can hide. However, that’s not the case when the setting is the entire Korean peninsula. There’s plenty of places to run off to, and there’s no thrill there.
Summing up: Peninsula
Peninsula proves that some good movies don’t require a sequel. After the smashing first entry, it felt like it demanded a second part. However, it’s probably for the best that people don’t give in to such things.
Peninsula isn’t all bad, honestly. But it doesn’t have the tension or the thrill that the first movie had. There’s a lot of dramatic moments that add nothing to the movie, neither do they make us feel closer to the characters. The zombies were pretty great though.
Check out Peninsula’s official website here.
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