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Train to Busan is one of my favorite South Korean films ever, and I firmly defend that it's one of the best zombie apocalypse movies of all-time, maybe even the best. Therefore, I couldn't help but feel incredibly excited about another installment set in the same world. It's not a direct sequel to the original's story, but it seems to be placed just after the pandemic began. Unfortunately, it ends up being a huge disappointment.
Despite the jaw-dropping stunt work and the extremely intense action sequences, the reason why Peninsula's predecessor works so well is due to its focus on the characters. By giving them a compelling development and a strong emotional bond, the zombie outbreak becomes instantly more effective because of our immense concern for everyone involved. Every technical element is dialed up to its maximum, transforming the film into an emotionally devastating, heart-wrenching story.
Yeon Sang-ho tries to follow a shortcut to achieve that same emotion of his previous movie, dooming this "sequel" from the very beginning. Every relationship feels forced, and the supposedly heartbreaking decisions/events are a complete target miss. Even the action scenes fail to live up to the original's level due to excessive CGI in ridiculous car chases. Every fifteen minutes, a major logical issue arises, and some characters are either straight-up dumb or unbelievably smart for their age/experience. Peninsula takes the realistic environment established by Train to Busan and fictionalizes it way too much.