Review-Lite: Peninsula (2020)

Gang Dong-Won in Peninsula

When Peninsula’s predecessor, the wonderfully paced and nerve shredding Train to Busan was released in 2016 it smartly avoided emulating other zombie films, instead telling an insulated story with a different type of monster while embracing a little bit of B movie camp along the way. Peninsula once again seeks to re-invent instead of play to what came before. Here returning director Yeon Sang-ho has adapted his monster filled world to allow Peninsula to play with different genres, stepping as far away from the horror trappings of Train to Busan. Set in a now overgrown and overrun Korean peninsula, Sang-ho’s film follows a team of desperate mercenaries hunting for a hidden cache of money left when the outbreak began. Unprepared for their excursion, they are quickly introduced to the new normal of a country gone to hell and Peninsula quickly develops into a fast paced, oddly comical, action extravaganza. Full of questionable CGI of hordes of the undead being decimated by cars with seemingly indestructible chassis’ playfully introduces viewers to a world unencumbered by logic, instead embracing the chaos. Full of well constructed set pieces full of Gun-Fu and some wonderfully outlandish villains, Peninsula feels unique in a way most sequels don’t because it actively avoids doing the same thing until the final minutes. While a simple plot keeps the wheels spinning and the action strangely whimsical for a zombie film, the unnecessary injection of a painfully sappy ending never meshes and while its to be expected, it is the one way that Peninsula unfortunately follows instead of leads and here it never quite earns it. Then again, this new spin on an old world opens up Sang-ho for even more outlandish antics in the future and that sounds like a lot of fun to me.


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