Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Brief Review of Two Zombie Movies.

I watched two zombie movies last week. Yeah. Me. The guy who learned to hate zombie movies, stories, and novels. But I was bored and I caved to peer pressure. (What? I have zombie pals? In a manner of speaking, yes.)

Generally these days I absolutely loathe all things zombie. Such books and movies have come to appeal to racists, nationalists, and gun-crazed neo-Nazis. It almost makes me wish I'd never written any zombie fiction at all. That said, there were two recent-ish zombie movies that a lot of people kept claiming were good and worth watching, and I caved to the pressure.

The first one I tried to watch was THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS. I'd been told it was a "new take" on the zombie trope. It was not. It sucked Holy Roman Ass. It had enough plot holes to drive an Armata tank through. Also, it had what may be the single most racist scene I have ever witnessed in a zombie movie; and brother believe me that was not easy to do. Avoid it. Piece of utter shit. That's all I'm going to say about that one.

The second film was TRAIN TO BUSAN. Everyone and his cousins had been telling me how good this movie is. But, you know--zombies. So I avoided it. Then on my son's birthday we were hanging out at his house and he told me that it really was good and we should watch it on streaming video. So we did.

Holy Hell! What a great movie! It's a Korean film, subtitled in English. (I hope they never dub it.) It's a great action movie with some truly wonderful characters packed into a two-hour running time. I mean...damn...very well rounded characters.

Not only is it a great action flick, it also has a dynamite load of subversive social and political messages going on. For one thing, I never expected a movie from South Korea to deliver such a powerful anti-capitalist message, but this one does; and effectively. The villains of the movie are personified in the two businessmen, one of whom evolves over the course of the movie, the other of whom only grows more detestable. I liked the fact that the two great heroic characters are working class--one a hulking weight-lifter of a man (played by Ma Dong-seok) who is a classic heroic figure, and who plays the part with a lot of humor (hard to do in a zombie movie). The other is described simply as a nameless "Homeless Man" skilfully rendered by Choi Gwi-hwa.

For a zombie film it is absent of much in the way of gore. There is blood, for sure, but no guts, really. One reason for this is that the transition from human to zombie takes place most of the time in a matter of seconds. And the purpose of the zombies seems to be to infect non-carriers rather than consuming them. The zombies are also the super-fast sort rather than the plodding Romero zombies.

At any rate, I can highly recommend this one, even if you're not a zombie fan (which I am not).
Here are my favorite characters from the movie.

Ma Dong-seok who is, I was surprised to learn, an American. He was my favorite character in the film. He played the part with a lot of humor and likability.

Kim Eui-sung as the vile, unrepentant, selfish capitalist sack of shit. It's not easy to play a role and to create a person who is completely corrupt and hateful. He does it with great skill. He's like a cockroach that won't die.

Choi Gwi-hwa as the "Homeless Man". Another wonderful performance. Andy and I both figured the actor for being Japanese, but apparently he's Korean. I admired how he played the this role carefully and resourcefully. Ultimately one of the most heroic roles in the movie.

And Yoo Gong as the privileged money manipulator who finds over the course of the film that he still has a soul.

Yeah, I know. Late to the party. But give it a view.

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