PENINSULA (2020) Reviews and overview

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‘4 years later…’
Peninsula is a 2020 South Korean science-fiction horror feature film and the sequel to the zombie pandemic classic Train to Busan (2016). Promoted as Train to Busan Presents Peninsula

Like Train to Busan, the movie is also directed by Yeon Sang-ho from a screenplay co-written with Joo-Suk Park. The movie stars Dong-won Gang and Jung-Hyun Lee.

Four years after South Korea’s total decimation in Train to Busan, Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive.

When Jung-seok’s team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best—or worst—of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances…

Peninsula doesn’t reach the visceral heights of its predecessor but it’s never dull. It hits the marks where it’s supposed to, except in the final stretch where the human drama gets in the way of a satisfying wrap-up. I won’t go into details about the scene; it’s just that the exasperating scene goes on and on and it’ll make you scream… but for all the wrong reasons.” 8 Days

“What could have been a pretty solid follow-up is instead hampered by a continuous lack of threat and weight. There’s almost no point to the zombies even being present, save to make the locale slightly more dangerous than otherwise. As such, there are only minor thrills to be found, and these are too few and far between to make the overall effort worthwhile.” Allusions of Grandeur

“This sequel goes full-throttle on the blockbuster spectacle, making for an exhilarating feature that exists in a heightened reality. Some of the novelty has worn off, however. There’s an overreliance on the cliched drama between characters that makes the film less effective in its storytelling.” Bloody Disgusting

” …what is more disappointing is director Yeon borrows from his own previous film, trying desperately during Peninsula’s climax to wring the same kind of poignant response from the death of a character that he achieved effortlessly in the finale of Train to Busan. But he doesn’t earn it here, and the movie quickly plunges from overtly hollow sentimentality to exploitative emotional porn.” Den of Geek

” …there is serviceable acting across the board, even if the movie occasionally forces everyone to speak English once in a while, which comes out awkward and badly performed compared to everyone’s native language. Fortunately, a thrill ride such as Peninsula is a universally enjoyable and worthy sequel that retains elements from what made Train to Busan stand out while also not being afraid to experiment with its own style.” Flickering Myth

” …the spectacle of this movie alone makes it worth the watch. From trope inversion to captivating zombie motion, Peninsula takes the template of what the first film did right and builds on it to create a uniquely powerful follow-up.” Killer Horror Critic

“Although Peninsula is marketed as a zombie film, I saw it more as a dystopian drama […] It was frightening to see the characters as refugees, with no place, no country to call their own […] As Jung-suk meets a diverse range of characters, we begin to question the distinction between humans and zombies. The society that exists in Peninsula is true chaos, and the humans are not better people for it.” Korean JoonAng Daily

” changing gears, Peninsula surrenders the emotional depth of its predecessor along the way. Gang’s tormented, guilt-ridden protagonist and Gong Yoo’s divorced workaholic dad have similar redemption arcs, with young kids thrown into the fray again. But there are hardly any gut-wrenching sacrifices made this time, and instead, many instances of sheer stupidity that may make you shout.” The New Paper

” …lacks the ruthless focus the original maintained even with its large ensemble and feels mechanical instead of surprising. There are moments along the way (particularly a great physical gag at the climax) that briefly recall the thrills and astonishment Yeon delivered on his trip toward Busan, but way too much of Peninsula has the sense of the filmmaker spinning his wheels, figuratively and literally.” Rue Morgue

” …Yeon amps up the obligatory action beats with mind-numbing predictability […] Peninsula too often feels like a rushed videogame adaptation of Escape From New York mixed with the CGI zombie hordes of World War Z and the nihilistic bleakness of The Last of Us 2, minus the budget necessary to fully fulfill Yeon’s creative vision.” Screen Anarchy

” …much like Train to Busan, Yeon’s plot is deliberately straightforward, allowing viewers to focus on the jaw-dropping set-pieces that propel it. These include an extraordinary car chase as Yeon goes full-throttle on the Seoul roads in a way that’s reminiscent of sequences from Mad Max: Fury Road […] Instead of striving for realism, Peninsula’s night-time aesthetic is grittier than Train to Busan and more like [Yeon Sang-ho’s] acclaimed animations The King of Pigs, The Fake and Seoul Station.” Screen Daily

” …returning director Yeon Sang-ho cranks up the dramatic music and lighting (such as it is, since this one takes place mostly at night). I’m actually a little disappointed that Yeon emphasises the action and carnage so much that all the other things which made Train To Busan great are either absent or so contrived that they do not ring true.” The Star

Peninsula will be released on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray and DVD on November 24th via Well Go USA. Special features:
Making-of featurette
Cast and crew interviews

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