2016’s Train to Busan was a South Korean zombie flick that shook the dust off of the stale genre and delivered something visceral to fans of shambling hordes of the undead. When the film premiered, it was a massive worldwide hit, breaking box office records in South Korea and receiving overwhelming critical praise. Of course, fans have been waiting patiently for a follow-up, and their wish will soon be granted.
To clear up any confusion right up top, Train to Busan 2: Peninsula isn’t a straight sequel, but rather a standalone film that takes place in the same universe as the first (more details on that in a minute). Depending on the market, the film bears the title Train to Busan 2: Peninsula, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, or simply Peninsula. However you come to know it, the trailer — which dropped on April 1st, 2020 — is sure to have fans of zombie movies champing at the bit to see the film. Let’s jump in and break down what we know about the movie so far.
When is the release date for Train to Busan 2: Peninsula?
First, the good news: as reported by ScreenDaily, the film has already been picked up for distribution by companies across the world, including Well Go USA for release in America. This means the ball is already rolling on bringing the film to audiences outside of South Korea.
With that said, as of now, the film doesn’t have an official release date stateside (or anywhere else, for that matter). Late last year, reports leaked that the film would premiere in France on August 12th, 2020, an indication that it would likely arrive in other international markets around the same time. However, the film’s South Korean distributor, NEW, disputed that date. In a statement, the distributor clarified, “Though it is true that we are currently aiming for a summer 2020 release, we have not made any decisions regarding specific details for premiere dates in or outside of Korea.”
As of now, we’re still waiting for an exact release date. However, at the end of February, NEW confirmed that the film will be released internationally in 2020 — so, barring any major developments, we’ll likely see Train to Busan 2: Peninsula in theaters this summer.
What is the plot of Train to Busan 2: Peninsula?
Given the ending of the first film and the fact that this follow-up isn’t a direct sequel, don’t expect to see many actors returning this time around. Although there were rumors that the star of the first film, Gong Yoo, might return for a small cameo, the current word on that is that he won’t be making an appearance after all (via International Business Times).
Lead actor duties will be taken over by Dong-won Gang, who will play a character named Jung Suk. Gang has a long career in South Korean cinema, including roles in the political drama 1987: When the Day Comes and action thriller Golden Slumber. He’ll be making his Hollywood debut in the forthcoming disaster flick #tsunami, formerly known as Tsunami LA.
He’ll be joined by actress and pop star Lee Jung Hyun, playing the role of Min Jung. Since her acclaimed film debut at the age of 16 in the movie A Petal, Hyun has been a major cultural force in South Korea. She has worked steadily in film and recorded nine studio albums in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
What is the plot of Train to Busan 2: Peninsula?
Details on the plot of this zombified follow-up are scarce, but thanks to a recent ScreenDaily interview with director Yeon Sang-ho, we do have some tidbits to work with. The first thing to note is that Train to Busan 2: Peninsula is a sequel in name only. While the film is set in the same world four years after the events of the first movie, don’t expect to see any continued storylines or characters.
The movie takes place in the ruins of the Korean Peninsula (hence the title), which has seen civilization collapse in the wake of the zombie outbreak introduced in the first film. In the world of the film, the peninsula has been completely blocked off by the rest of the world to try to contain the outbreak, and the plot will follow a former soldier (Dong-won Gang) who has escaped from the containment zone, but must return to retrieve something important.
Another important detail is that the scope of this film will be much larger than the deliberately small scale of its predecessor. Yeon pointed to action blockbusters like George Romero’s Land of the Dead and Mad Max: Fury Road as influences on the sequel, which were very evident in the film’s first trailer.
Eager fans got their first look at the movie on April 1st, 2020 when an international trailer was released. The bombastic teaser does a fantastic job of setting up the tone and scope of the film. It has a very dark visual palette, which is an effective way to indicate that we’re looking at the ruins of a civilization where things like electricity have gone away, and we get several cool aerial shots of the movie’s desolated cityscape setting.
Snippets of high intensity action sequences follow, including plenty of shootouts and car chases, both with approximately a bajillion zombies onscreen at all times. The most intriguing set piece we get a look at appears to be in an abandoned mall which has been repurposed into some kind of gladiator-like arena. With cheering onlookers crowding the upper mezzanines, a group of survivors are led into a fenced off area, where after a moment of confusion they are met with a horde of zombies flowing in from the other side. In addition to all the action, there is a clear sense that the movie wants to explore the human response to such an event — and this zombie mall Thunderdome appears to be a part of that.
The trailer doesn’t give away too many specific details, though, so fans looking to remain unspoiled before seeing Train to Busan 2: Peninsula should give it a watch, and get excited for the film’s release later this year.