Believe it or not, I have NOT quit doing movie reviews. However, it must be said that after several reviews for Zenger, it’s been a LONG five months since Coronavirus shut down movie theaters worldwide. While people are desperately looking for their cinematic fix, the collection of Netflix films that have taken their place in the last five months has been absolutely putrid, enough to make any sane person give up on film altogether.
Due to the dire shortage of quality films that 2020 has brought us, I have decided to take a trip back to the country of South Korea (metaphorically) to see if they could save us from this cinematic abyss. Earlier this year, I reviewed The Man Standing Next which currently stands as South Korea’s highest-grossing film with positive remarks so let’s check out the #2, Peninsula.
Just because the Walking Dead fall off of a cliff and died, doesn’t mean that zombie films have gone out of style. Given the way the country is reacting to this pandemic, you are probably rooting for a Zombie apocalypse yourself.
Peninsula begins right in the middle of a new zombie outbreak in Korea. Jung-Seok attempts to get his family out of the region but the outbreak becomes too big for Korea to contain and the country falls to the infected.
Four years later, Jung-Seok has evacuated to Hong Kong following the events of that day when he is recruited to return to the country he fled in order to obtain a 20 million dollar cash shipment that was lost in the region. Jung-Seok and a small militia must go into the quarantined area and retrieve the cash before the zombies and the savages in the area get to them first.
Peninsula is likely the best film that has come out this year. Now on face value, that might not mean much given the highest-grossing movie of the year is Bad Boys 3 but don’t let that distract you from what Peninsula offers.
This sequel to 2016’s Train to Busan doesn’t waste your time explaining how we got here, as the zombies play as an environment rather than the central story. A heist film within a zombie film within a gangster film that sprinkles high octane action including guns that never run empty and villains chewing up scenery like farm cows.
The film is an easy watch for western audiences as the inspiration of multiple films such as Mad Max and I Am Legend are noticeable with its cinematic style. The language switches Korean to English frequently and not much is lost in translation. The pacing is tight and manages the audience’s attention with well-choreographed set pieces that maintain a thrilling atmosphere.
One of the negatives that this presents is the narrative feels like many things at once without being clear and defined. When you blend a little bit of everything, it is difficult to narrow down what flavor to focus on.
Peninsula despite some flaws manages to do what few films in 2020 have accomplished. Create a universe devoid of cringle social justice pandering that commits to its premise and sees it through. It is what movies use to be…movies. For that, it’s a must-see in a real-time world of action horror.