Following on from Train to Busan (released in 2016), the film reminds its viewers of what has happened in Korea after a deadly virus changed the world forever. It has been four years since the zombie virus and outbreak spread across South Korea.
We are introduced to Jung Seok (Dong-won Gang), who has a dark past from when he served as a captain and soldier during the outbreak’s beginning. He attempted to save his sister and nephew but failed to do so, and in the present day, Jung is filled with frustration and guilt from the past. Soon Jung, along with a group of people, is hired to re-enter zombie territory in Peninsula. Rumour has it that inside Peninsula, there is a truck with lots and lots of money inside. If the team is successful, they will receive 2.5 million dollars each… if they return alive. When they discover the truck, they soon find people in Peninsula who are still alive, though, and these people are either murderers or lone survivors. Whoever gets the truck full of cash will find themselves a golden ticket out of the zombie-infested city.
Surprisingly enough, this film is hugely different to the original 2016 feature. Serving as a sequel, the film focuses on delivering an entire adrenaline ride through its action. Action sequences are fun and pleasing, but they rely on heavy use of CGI, which straight away takes away some of the suspense. I could not help being a little surprised at changes to the film’s style, pace, and story. There are no returning characters, so the film feels more as though it is set in the same universe rather than being an exact sequel.
As a plot, it is ok. It carries an excellent introduction followed by a much slower and dull second act. I found the third act quite redeeming, even though there were moments where both the plot and action felt more familiar to what we saw in the previous film than being creative and fresh. In the end, as a second instalment, I can appreciate that the returning director attempted to make the movie different rather than being an exact copy of what worked so well last time. The director has tried to make changes, and these will either disappoint or surprise fans.
Overall, as a sequel, this feels more like a film set in the same universe as Train to Busan instead of a follow on. Peninsula is an action film that lacks tension and suspense due to the heavy use of CGI. The film’s second act was relatively slow and dull, but thankfully I found the third act quite redeeming even though many of the moments felt familiar in cinema. In the end, Peninsula is still quite enjoyable even though it is very different from the original 2016 feature.
Peninsula (2020) is Now Available on Shudder (North America Only*)!