Same Premise, Different Thematic Outcomes: Peninsula movie review

I loved Train to Busan. So, when I heard that a sequel was coming out, I was already getting the popcorn ready. When Peninsula finally got English subtitles, I went in with high expectations and came out with one question: this was a sequel?

With a completely different cast, I noticed that Train to Busan and Peninsula may not be connected in its story but the different thematic outcomes.


Peninsula takes place four years after Train to Busan. It follows a marine captain, Jung Seok, who ignores a family’s plea for help as they escape on a ship to Japan but ends up in Hong Kong.

An infected man boards the ship and infects numerous people, including Jung Seok’s nephew. Jung Seok’s sister refuses to leave her son and ends up being attacked by zombies. Jung Seok ends up stopping his brother-in-law, Chul-Min, from getting into the cabin.

Four years later in Hong Kong, Jung Seok and Chul Min are plagued with guilt. As part of a small group, they sign up for a mission to retrieve USD 20 million from an abandoned truck in South Korea, which is now known as the Peninsula.

The group almost successfully retrieves the money, but rogue militants throw them off. Jung Two mysterious young girls save Jung Seok, and he discovers that his saviours are the family he once walked away from.


I didn’t know what a sequel to Train to Busan would look like. Initially, I assumed it would follow the two survivors at the end of the movie, but this took a completely different direction.

There are a lot more than just zombies on the Peninsula, and Jung Seok is quick to discover that rogue militants are pitting zombies and humans against each other in a watery pit. These guys are the real horror in this movie, and the zombies just enhance their monstrosity.

Due to the circumstances, they were stripped of their humanity. Everything is for fun, and they have lost all respect for human lives. They’ve turned so selfish that they won’t hesitate to do anything as long as they are safe, including leaving others behind or killing them themselves.

Peninsula quickly turns into a Fast and Furious thriller movie that involves escaping from zombies using drifts and insane speeds. At the climax of the movie, we have our heroes and villains in an epic car chase with running hoards as an add-on.

It was different, and I didn’t really have a problem with it. But it did seem a bit unrealistic. Still, I think this is the first zombie movie I watched that involved so many car chases.

There were a lot of parallels between Train to Busan and Peninsula. Themes like family and sacrifice are present in both movies. Of course, there was also the desire to survive.

Though, the protagonist in Train to Busan is more memorable because of his character growth, which makes his sacrifice at the end more emotional. Jung Seok has minimal character growth as he doesn’t escape from his festering sense of guilt.

I think what Peninsula really tried to portray is that we are our own worst enemy. While Train to Busan is fighting the outbreak, Peninsula shows that humans can always make things worse. While Train to Busan displays the heartwarming moments of humanity like helping others and working together, Peninsula shows all the nastiness and darkness of humanity.

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