MOVIE REVIEW: Train to Busan & Battle Royale// The Walking Dead in South Korea & a Japanese Hunger Games

Today I decided that I’d write a joint review for two films I watched recently. I held polls on Twitter to see if y’all would actually be interested in reading reviews of these movies and the majority of you said yes so here I am!

btw i chose these two particular movies because i’ve heard nothing but amazing things about them

also, these are the first foreign films i’ve ever watched

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traintobusanTitle: Train to Busan
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror
Length: 1 hr 58 min
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Language: Korean
Source: Watched on Netflix

Synopsis: A man (Gong Yoo), his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak in South Korea.

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THIS. MOVIE. THIS MOVIE OH MY GOD.

As far as zombie movies go, I’ve only watched World War Z and I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead, but aside from that and The Last of Us video game, I’m not experienced in the zombie genre.

That being said, Train to Busan blew my mind. It was so well-crafted as far as zombie movies go and it explored the way humanity can quickly turn on one another when faced with such a crisis.

there was literally a dude that pushed like a dozen people throughout the span of the movie into zombies

I find all of the best zombie entertainment that I’ve seen to be watching as people go crazy and seeing what people do when they’re faced with such a catastrophe.

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The zombies themselves and the way the virus was transmitted to other people was absolutely terrifying. In The Walking Dead, zombies are slow and spend their time eating bodies so you could have time to escape while your friend gets eaten, but in Train to Busan, they move at lightning speed and take one bite of a person before moving onto the next. So you have a split second to run away before you’re zombie food.

Our main character in this movie is played by actor Gong Yoo (you probably know him from Goblin if you watch kdramas) and he’s transporting on a train with his daughter when a woman infected gets on the train. Them and other passengers (as well as the rest of South Korea – one city at a time) start getting attacked by infected people.

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If I’m being completely honest I think being stuck on a train filled with zombies is the most terrifying situation you could come up with.

I think it was done really well and I can definitely see myself re-watching this every Halloween in the future.

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My Rating: 5 Stars

Even if you don’t like foreign films (or if you think you wouldn’t like them) but you like a good thriller/horror/survival movie, I’d highly recommend this to you. There’s never a dull moment and the story is amazing and the ending was so sad (no spoilers, but it’ll probably make you cry).

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battleroyaleTitle: Battle Royale
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi (according to imdb – i don’t see the sci-fi)
Length: 2 hr 2 min
Release Date: December 16, 2000
Language: Japanese
Source: Watched on Netflix

Synopsis: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

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This is another movie that had me hanging off the edge of my seat. I had been wanting to watch this for a long time because I’ve heard it being compared to The Hunger Games (or rather, The Hunger Games gets compared to Battle Royale, since THG came after BR).

Although this movie’s old (it’s pretty easy to tell) I found it to be so engaging and interesting throughout. I honestly wasn’t as hooked as I was while watching Train to Busan, but the entire premise itself is enough to keep me intrigued.

A class of around 40 Japanese students get randomly chosen to take part in Battle Royale. They’re taken to an island where they have collars put around their necks (that will explode if the makers see that they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to) and told that they have to fight each other to the death over a three day time period.

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If there’s more than one person standing at the end, everyone will die. I found a lot of similarities between this and The Hunger Games. There were some people that ended up being okay with killing and basically killing everyone in sight and the main two characters reminded me of Katniss and Peeta in a sense.

I feel like Suzanne Collins must’ve seen this movie because some of the similarities were uncanny. There were still many differences, but overall I couldn’t stop comparing them. This is probably due to me only having heard them being compared to one another since hearing about this movie.

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I found Battle Royale to be way more gory and violent than The Hunger Games. Since there were about double the amount of contestants, the kills ended up happening much quicker (one person died not even after all of the kids got out into the field).

I loved how each kid got a different backpack that had the usual supplies but different weapons. One kid got a crossbow, and another got a tracker (best weapon ever!), and the main guy got a lid to a pot haha (but it did come in handy).

Even though I really enjoyed this movie, I did find myself getting bored during some of it. I think it’s because although there was a lot going on (with the kids brutally murdering each other and all) I didn’t feel like a lot was happening at times.

Rating: 4 Stars

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a movie similar to The Hunger Games. It’s definitely not one for the faint of heart so if you’re not comfortable with gore and a lot of death I really wouldn’t recommend it.

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Do you watch foreign films? What are some you’d recommend to me? Do you think you would enjoy these movies? 

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15 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW: Train to Busan & Battle Royale// The Walking Dead in South Korea & a Japanese Hunger Games

  1. Whoo, Battle Royale! I don’t watch many films, let alone foreign ones, but I remember watching this in high school long before the Hunger Games existed. I think I liked Battle Royale because I liked how it explored all these different scenarios of how people behave when placed in that situation. I don’t remember what happens at the end but I remember liking it, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      I don’t watch too many films either but I did really enjoy it. The way every kid behaved differently due to the situation they were put in was a really interesting aspect I liked to see.

      Like

  2. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books

    I literally just saw the trailer of Train to Busan a minute ago and added it to my to-watch list!!! I’m soooo glad you loved it!! It just moved to the top of my list! I’m so excited to watch it now! Great review. I’m going to add Battle Royale to my list as well!
    Great reviews!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: TheBookProphet Q and A  | bookfandom1001

  4. alexcvick

    I really enjoyed these reviews! I don’t have much experience of zombie films, though books-wise I did enjoy the After the Cure series and also Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. However, I just did a search and found that Train to Busan is on Amazon Prime UK, so I’m going to watch it today!! Hopefully I’ll finish it before it gets dark, haha

    Liked by 1 person

      • It was definitely five stars for me too. I’m still thinking about it two days later. It was the emotional trauma that I found the hardest to watch because I got very invested in the characters, although the zombie effects were totally amazing as well. And those zombies were FAST!!
        The story was really poignant and had lots of nuances and smaller threads alongside the main plot. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time. And the pushing dude made me so angry!!
        I don’t know how you wrote a spoiler-free review! That ending…

        Liked by 1 person

        • thebookprophet

          I’m so happy you loved it so much!!! Yes, it was such an emotional movie. Believe me, it was sooo hard! And yes that ending just… i’m still not over it!

          Like

    • thebookprophet

      I watched them on Netflix, but if you don’t live in the United States I don’t know where you’d be able to watch them. They are quite frightening, I got scared when I watched them late at night by myself in the dark… but they’re so worth it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG THIS! ❤
    I love Train to Busan ❤ I watched it in the cinema with my friends, and again after we downloaded it haha I still found it funny how many times my friend would jump despite us watching it for so many times already.
    I completely agree. But at least we could still hide if we're stuck on a train with zombies. Imagine if we're on an airplane, and the plane was already in the air O.O

    And aweee, Battle Royale. That's like…my childhood (I watched it when I was 12), and the main male character is the one playing Light in Death Note.
    Asdfghjkl; it's kind of my pet peeves whenever some people didn't get their facts right and said Battle Royal is like The Hunger Games. haha
    Anyways, did you know there's a sequel? It's not as interesting as the first one though, because they are less creative than the first one.

    What kind of movies do you like? haha Kdramas/ Jdramas/ Kmovies/ Jmovies/ animes are kind of the only thing I watched when I was in my teens haha

    Ooooh, you should watch Taiyou no Uta. There's two versions though, the Jdrama and Jmovie. There's singing in both, but the actress playing the MC in the movie is YUI, who is one of my fav singers.
    Also, I'm not really sure about this yet, because I haven't read the book (it hasn't come out yet) but according to the synopsis, it's kind of similar to Taiyou no Uta (even the name of the book is the same as the english title of the jdrama)

    ps – haha such a long comment xD I love this topic so much. Please post more ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      That’s so awesome!! Train to Busan would have been AMAZING to see in theaters! I can only imagine 😮 Oh my god being stuck on a plane with zombies IN FLIGHT would be my worst nightmare!! OMG he plays Light??? In the live action or anime? I love Death Note (and anime isn’t really my thing). Yeah I saw the sequel recommended to me on Netflix after watching the first one. I’ll probably watch it sometime but I’m not in much of a rush for that haha I didn’t think it’d live up to the first one. Sequels usually don’t. Do you know anywhere I could legally watch Taiyou no Uta for free? Cause it’s not on Netflix :/ I’ll be posting a review for the current kdrama I’m watching once I finish it (I have two episodes left!)

      Like

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