Hey 3.5 readers.
So, I’m a couple days late, but I hope you enjoyed (or at least, survived) Friday the Thirteenth.
Hey 3.5 readers.
So, I’m a couple days late, but I hope you enjoyed (or at least, survived) Friday the Thirteenth.
“Disco Werewolf is a flash in the pan,” Boogiedown Barry said while sipping his fifth drink of the evening. “All these young up and comers to the disco scene. They’re all razzle and no dazzle, all trash and no sash, you know what I mean? They’re all about the kooky get ups first and the actual art of dancing comes in at a distant second, if that. You getting all this down?”
“Dancing…comes…in…second,” Claudette mumbled to herself as she jotted her interviewee’s words down in her notebook. “I got it, but you have to admit, Disco Werewolf can dance.”
Barry looked out at the dancefloor, where the furry funkmaster was matching the beat, note for note, with his big fuzzy feet. All kinds of sexy ladies pushed each other out of the way for a chance to shake their booties in the wolfman of the hour’s general vicinity.
“Bah,” Barry said. “I admit nothing.”
“Do you know who he is?” Claudette asked.
Barry raised an eyebrow. “Do I know who he is?”
“Yes,” Claudette said.
“Sure, I do,” Barry said.
Claudette looked at Barry with anticipation, pen at the ready.
“He’s the rat bastard who’s ruining my life,” Barry said. “Look at him. Hogging up the floor while the rest of us can’t get a foot in edgewise.”
The aspiring journalist frowned upon realizing that Barry didn’t know the secret to the question she was trying so desperately to answer.
Barry sipped, then belched, then sipped again. “What did you say your name again was, little filly?”
“Claudette Who?” Barry asked as he ogled the gyrating rump stuffed inside a short orange skirt just a few feet away.
Barry immediately snapped to attention, no longer interested in the aforementioned heiney. He looked the kid over. “Jenkins, huh?”
“Who are you with?” Barry asked.
“Freelance is what I should say to be honest,” Claudette replied. “With any luck, for the New York Courant.”
“Huh. You look a might underripe to be a reporter if you ask me. Then again, no one asks old Boogiedown Barry anything anymore. Oh, they used to. How they used to hang on my every word until that fat pile of…hey, don’t write this part. This part is off the record.”
“You hate Disco Werewolf,” Claudette said. “I got it.”
“I do,” Barry said as he watched the monster get freaky. “Then again, I’m starting to think I shouldn’t. I mean, does the lion hate the lamb? Does the hound hate the fox? Does the axe murderer in all those cheesy, bargain basement slasher flicks hate the horny teenagers he’s always chasing around? You see where I’m going with this?”
“Not at all,” Claudette replied.
“I know I’m good,” Barry said. “I know he stinks. I don’t have to prove nothing to nobody, you hear?”
“I hear,” Claudette said.
Barry swished the booze around in his mouth like it was mouthwash, then swallowed. “Now that, you can print.”
Thump. Thump. Thump. A pair of heavy feet cut through the crowd, trudging their way to the bar. Soon enough, Barry and Claudette found themselves in the company of a big ass werewolf, as well as his hangers on.
“You’re the best, DW!” one man shouted. “You’re far out!”
“Groovy, baby!” came another male voice. “Positively groovy!”
“Disco Werewolf, are you seeing anyone?” asked a female voice.
Barry was standing right beside Disco Werewolf now, but refused to acknowledge him. Disco Werewolf looked at the fella who used to be the club’s number one dancer and growled. “Grrr.”
“Huh?” Barry asked as he chewed on a toothpick and looked around the bar, anywhere but in the werewolf’s direction. “Somebody say something? I don’t know, because I don’t talk to nobodies.”
Disco Werewolf let the rude comment slide off and raised a finger. Ferdinand the bartender practically tripped over himself as he rushed over with an aluminum shaker in hand.
“I got your usual right here, DW, baby,” Ferdinand said as he opened the shaker and poured the contents into a glass. He popped a toothpick into an olive, inserted it into the drink and handed it over.
The werewolf sipped.
“How is it, sir?” Ferdinand asked. “Not too dry, I hope? You know what, Disco Werewolf, you just say the word and I’ll throw it out and make you another.”
Disco Werewolf guzzled the concoction down in a single gulp. Ferdinand waited in suspense for the verdict. The monster kicked his head back and howled in delight. “Ahhhh-wooo!”
Ferdinand smiled while the Looky Lous cheered. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Werewolf. I’ll keep those coming all night long. Free of charge. Totally gratis, on the house. Mr. Sugarshine told me straight up, his mouth to my ears, that I shouldn’t even dream of taking your money.”
Disco Werewolf nodded and patted the barkeep on the shoulder.
“Oh wowie, zowie!” Ferdinand said. “I’ll never wash this shoulder ever again!”
“Like you’ve ever taken a bath in your entire life, spazoid,” Barry said.
“Pipe down, has been!” Ferdinand replied. “And you’d better make good on your tab, Barry! It’s already $108.57 and counting! Mr. Sugarshine can’t be expected to subsidize deadbeat rummies forever!”
“Bah,” Barry said. “Mr. Sugarshine can subsidize both cheeks of my ass.”
Disco Werewolf was about to walk away when he felt a tug on his paw. He looked down to see Claudette. He locked eyes with her and for a brief moment, looked as though he were in a daze.
“Disco Werewolf?” Claudette said as she held up her notepad and pen. “Claudette Jenkins, hopefully for the New York Courant. Do you have a minute?”
They say that canines can’t smile because they have no lips, but on some level, the club’s resident dance hound looked happy. He patted the girl on the head, tussling her hair. Then, he took the pad and pen, scribbled something down, and handed it all back to Claudette before returning to the action.
Ferdinand leaned over the bar. “Hokie smokies! What’d he write?”
Claudette looked at the pad, then showed it to Ferdinand:
Stay in school.
“Wow,” Ferdinand said. “If I were you, I’d have that framed.”
Barry felt the need to interrupt. “Pbbht! If I were you, I’d have my head examined.”
“Stick a sock in it, lush!” Ferdinand said. “No one asked you!”
“Bah, your mother wears combat boots,” Barry replied.
I got 5 on it, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of Us.
Jordan Peele went from wacky comedian to serious horror film director in Get Out. His challenge here was to prove he could keep the pace going, and he does.
The plot? The Wilsons (Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide/Winston Duke as Gabe) are a middle class family who bring their kids to Santa Cruz, California for a vacation with their family friends, the Tylers (Elizabeth Moss as Kitty and Tim Heidecker as Josh.)
Alas, the shit hits the fan when a family of dopplegangers arrives at the Wilson’s vacation home. Each one of the strange intruders looks exactly like the Wilsons, but with the exception that they are basically feral monsters, looking to kill and destroy.
I’ve always thought that the best horror flicks rely less on CGI and more on feeling and emotion, things that are brought across through sights and sounds. Peele excels with that. The eerie facial expressions of “the Tethered” will freak you out, giving you a creepy look into the idea that we all may have a twin lurking beneath the surface and that twin may not be happy with us at all.
Sidenote – That may be the underlying social message of the film. You see, as Red, Adelaide’s copy, explains, whenever Adelaide experienced joy, Red experienced pain. Does one person’s joy cause another’s misery? Perhaps that might be looking into things a little too in depth. Or perhaps not.
All I know is this was scary, with some dashes of dark humor. There are epic plot holes galore and the movie starts to fall apart if you put too much thought into it. But Peele asks us to suspend disbelief and so we do…or should. I don’t know if I ever did. I still have unanswered questions.
Lupita has been a part of several big films this decade but as far as I know, this is her chance to shine in a lead. Meanwhile, Winston Duke proves his versatility, from playing Black Panther’s ultra macho frenemy last year, to playing the happy go lucky, nerdy dad that his wife kids are embarrassed of here.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I might be a little hung up on the social message I perceived. My two cents is that yes, elsewhere in the world, there are people who suffer while we watch TV and play video games and go to movies and go on vacations. How best to address that though? If you’ve been an avid news watcher over the years, it seems as though America can do no right in addressing the world’s ills. Attempts to help are met with accusations of America trying to take over. Attempts to stay out of the problems of other nations are met with accusations of being cold and uncaring. Then again, maybe it isn’t about suffering people abroad. There are plenty of people who are suffering right here at home.
My main unanswered questions lie within how the copies exist and how they work but to talk about that here would be to give it all away. However, if you’ve seen it, feel free to discuss in the comments.
New York City – 1979
“Are we going to do this or what?”
In a dark, dank alley behind Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge, Private First-Class Steven W. Sykes, honorably discharged, felt the cold gritty pavement press into his knees as he looked up at the sizable bulge taking up space in the crotch of a pair of jeans that belonged to his longtime friend and army buddy, Rick Danfield.
“Yeah,” Sykes said as he took a deep breath, held it, then exhaled. “Here we go.”
The moonlight glistened off of the gooey product that Danfield had applied ever so liberally to his curly hair. “Come on, man. This thing ain’t gonna suck itself.”
Sykes pushed his sunglasses up, leaving them perched on his forehead, sitting atop an American flag bandana he used to keep his long, brown hair out of his eyes. “No…you got me there. It certainly isn’t going to do that. Nope. No siree Bob.”
Try as he might, Sykes just was not able to move his hand, mouth, or any other body party anywhere near his pal’s member.
“Jesus Christ, Sy-ko,” Danfield said.
“Don’t call me that!” Sykes barked.
“Whatever, man,” Danfield replied.
“I never deserved that nickname,” Sykes said. “I served my country with honor and distinction in the war. I was in complete control of my mental faculties the entire time.”
“Who cares?” Danfield asked. “It was ‘Nam, brother. Everyone did some crazy shit. You mean to tell me you were able to walk around the jungle with an ear necklace for four years but slurping the old salamander is where you draw the line?”
Sykes pointed a finger up at Danfield. “I did not cut those ears off!”
“Whatever,” Danfield said.
“I found those ears!” Sykes said. “I was holding them until I could return them to their rightful owners!”
“I’m not judging, man,” Danfield said.
“There’s nothing to judge,” Sykes said. “Uncle Sam asked me to give Charlie hell and that’s what I did.”
“Fine,” Danfield said. “But the fact remains that I’ve yet to find a steady chick, and you’ve yet to find a steady chick, so we might as well help each other out until our chick ships come in, ya dig?”
“It’s ridiculous that we’re both still single!” Sykes said. “Our fathers sailed to Normandy and cock punched Hitler and when they came home, they were swimming in poon, but we get forced to fight a war over the economy of a faraway Asian country where everyone is trading rocks for chickens and all the cooze says, ‘Oh no! No hot snapper for you, baby killer!’”
“I ain’t kill no baby,” Danfield said.
“I didn’t kill any babies either!” Sykes said.
“Check it out, man,” Danfield said. “The country’s startin’ to pull its shit together. Jimmy Carter done went and pardoned all the draft dodgers.”
“And those cowardly sons of bitches are pulling down more trim than we are!” Sykes said.
“Everyone’s startin’ to heal,” Danfield said. “Startin’ to forgive. Only a matter of time before the public starts looking at us with the respect we deserve.”
“I’m not asking for much,” Sykes asked. “I’m just tired of being treated like a criminal for doing what my country told me to do.”
“Aren’t we all?” Danfield asked. “But hey man, can I give you some free advice?”
“If it will delay me getting a mouth full of man meat, sure.”
“Look at yourself, brother,” Danfield said. “You got your fatigues on. You got that bandana. Everybody’s trying to forget ‘Nam and you’re a walking reminder of it.”
“I’m proud of my service, Rick.”
“You should be. I’m proud of mine. But you’re more than a soldier, Steve. And a’int no lady gonna give you the time of day if you keep walkin’ around, lookin’ like a billboard for the least popular war in American history.”
“Fair point,” Steve said. “But wait, why should I listen to you? What do you know about scoring with babes? You’re out here trying to get your sausage gargled by a man.”
“So, that’s pretty gay.”
“What’s gay about it?”
Sykes shot his buddy a look as if to silently say, “Really?”
“I’m all about the pussy,” Danfield said. “But I’ve been thinking, what if all the gay dudes are onto something? Would it be so bad to try it and then if I like it, I’ll go all in and if I don’t, no harm done.”
“No harm done?” Sykes asked. “But then you’d be gay!”
“What?” Danfield asked. “A fella gets his pickle smooched one time and that automatically makes him gay?”
“Of course, it does!” Sykes said.
“If a man writes one sentence, is he a professional writer?” Danfield inquired.
“Well,” Sykes answered. “No, I suppose not.”
“If a man bangs a drum, does that get him a spot in an orchestra?”
“If a man runs a single mile, does he take home a gold medal from the Olympics?”
“OK,” Sykes said. “I see what you’re saying. We’re young. We’re in our prime. We should be trying new things. Sampling the smorgasbord of life, as it were.”
“Exactly,” Danfield said. “Now, enough talk, man. Get to work already.”
“You got it,” Sykes said as he smacked his lips together. “I’m…uh…going in. Going in for the big suck-a-roo. Here I come and…hey, wait!”
“What if you don’t like it?” Sykes asked.
“Then I will have learned I don’t like it and I’ll never do gay shit ever again,” Danfield said.
Sykes nodded. “OK. That makes sense. I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about.”
“I’m just nervous, you know?”
Danfield patted his friend on the head. “It’s cool. Just let it happen.”
“Alright,” Sykes said. “This…this’ll be fine, right?”
“It’s not going to traumatize me at all,” Sykes said.
“I don’t see why it would,” Danfield said.
“OK,” Sykes said. “Here I come…no big deal.”
“Just like chewing on a hot dog.”
“Right,” Sykes said. “I love hot dogs.”
“Who doesn’t love hot dogs?” Danfield asked.
“Not this guy,” Sykes said, pointing to himself. Ever so timidly, he moved his face closer to the bulge before abruptly backing away. “Wait!”
Danfield rolled his eyes. “Man! If you don’t wanna do it, then just say so!”
“It’s not that!” Sykes said. “It’s just…we promised we’d do this for each other.”
“But what if me sucking your dick teaches you that you’re not gay, then am I still going to get my dick sucked?” Sykes asked.
Danfield blew a contemptuous raspberry. “Pbbbht! Hell no. You can’t ask a straight man to suck your dick.”
Sykes stood up and threw up his hands. “I’m sorry bud. I wanted to do this for you but I was promised a certain level of reciprocity and if there’s no guarantee that I’m going to get it, then…”
“Shit, Steve,” Danfield said. “Do you want me to go first?”
Sykes thought about the question, then shook his head in the negative. “No, because then if it turns out I’m not gay, I’m going to feel bad when I realize I’m too straight to suck your dick, you hear me?”
“I get it,” Danfield said. “Maybe this experiment was ill-advised.”
“Nah, buddy,” Sykes said as he wrapped an arm around his friend. “I just think we need to find some bonafide, legit gay guyswho would just like to slurp our poles for the joy of doing so, with no preconceived promises of reciprocity and…”
“Was that you?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
The pair headed for the street when the sound came again. Grrr.
“You hungry?” Sykes asked.
“Then, what in the…”
From out of the darkness, two yellow eyes appeared. They glowed. It was sheer chaos. The soldiers had no clue what was going on. One claw grabbed Sykes. The other grabbed Danfield. Their heads were knocked together, causing them to lose consciousness.
I’ve been in a funk all year, 3.5 readers. I’m hoping for a day when I can really sit and concentrate, put in all my hours on crafting books.
In the meantime, I need stories that have that special ability to flow out of my brain, through my fingers and onto the keyboard.
I’ve been starting new books and getting stuck all year until recently, for some reason, the next story that has apparently chosen to use me as its vessel appears to be:
Hey 3.5 readers.
Your old pal BQB here.
It’s funny how you can watch a movie when you’re young and when you’re older and get a different experience. When I saw this movie when I was young, I thought it was a funny spoof on zombie flicks. Now that I’m older, it’s still that, but much more.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is 29, approaching 30 and is seen by everyone, even himself, as a big loser. He’s a clerk at an electronics store and his teenage employees laugh at him. His step-father has zero respect for him. His flat mate thinks his buddy, Ed, (Nick Frost) is dragging him down.
Worse, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) feels she’s wasting her life dating Shaun. She yearns for a better life and is tired of going on the same date to Shaun’s favorite dive bar, the Winchester. When Shaun fails an ultimatum to take her anywhere else by forgetting to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, she calls it quits.
Like a zombie, Shaun is shuffling through life, allowing life to live him instead of vice versa. Rather than create a plan and work and through, he takes what he gets and dulls the pain with booze and hanging out with Ed.
Now, here’s where it gets complicated. I think an argument can be made that Shaun is actually the only respectable one in the entire film.
Sometimes excellence doesn’t come from within but from opportunity. Without the Civil War, Abe Lincoln might have been a mediocre president. Though I’m not comparing Shaun to the Great Emancipator, we see Shaun kick ass and take names in the zombie apocalypse.
Here’s the thing. As a society, we’ve become programmed to think that success=perfection. Nothing could be further from the truth. Success comes from showing up.
Shaun takes charge of a group of survivors comprised of his friends and family. Everyone follows Shaun but as he makes mistakes, they don’t give him any leeway. His stepdad repeatedly dumps on him. Liz’s friend Dave routinely craps on him.
This is a show don’t tell thing. What I noticed is that at no time do any of the naysayers stand up and take control of the group. They all want to complain but none of them actually vocalize anything they’d do better. No one tells Shaun to stand down so they can take charge. This unfortunately happens a lot in life. People are happy to dump on the decision makers but they don’t want to make decisions themselves.
Call Shaun a loser, but a he always showed up. He showed up every day to a job he hated. He kept caring for friend Ed even though everyone told him to cut him loose. He kept dating Liz even though she complains Shaun is holding her back, as if Shaun is somehow keeping her from going to school, seeking a new job, going on a vacation or doing something to improve her life.
All we can do is show up. Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe we won’t. But we only fail when we stop showing up.
We don’t get too see too far into Shaun and Liz’s future, other than at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) they’re happy and Shaun acts like a man who is a bit more sure of himself. Does he get a better job or always remember to make dinner reservations, I don’t know. But he shows up.
WTF. Literally, WTF?
BQB here with a review of “Overlord.”
I tried to do a good dead, 3.5 readers. I took an old relative of mine to the movies. He picked Overlord. Sounds good to me. On the way he’s talking about the Normandy invasion during WWII (i.e. Operation Overlord i.e. D-Day.) He’s a history buff after all.
Suddenly, it dawns on me he doesn’t realize what he’s walking into. I tell him this isn’t just a World War II movie. It’s a zombie WW2 movie. He is disappointed but decides to give it a shot.
All I can say is, “Meh.”
The movie starts out like it was written by a high schooler who saw a few WW2 movies and brought together all of the tropes and cliches. It’s all exceedingly woke. Bokeem Woodbine is the commander barking orders at everyone…fine for today but historically accurate? Probably not. Then again it’s a horror fantasy and it probably says a lot about our terrible past that in a movie about the dead coming back to life, a black man ordering around white men in the 1940s is the most unbelievable part of the film.
NOTE: Yeah, don’t get upset 3.5 readers. I’m glad we fixed all that. I’m just saying, this is a woke version of the 1940s that didn’t exist at the time.
Back to the review. The first half of the film is spent watching our heroes crash and wander about the French countryside, evading enemy attacks and mines and shit. For awhile I felt like Dr. Malcolm in “Jurassic Park.” “Uh, you do intend to have zombies in your zombie movie don’t you?”
Eventually, they give you a glimpse of potential zombie-ism but that’s just because someone must have picked up the script and said, “Jesus, we can’t bill this as a zombie film and leave the audience jerking off for an hour.”
Finally, our heroes discover a secret underground bunker where Nazi scientists are conducting experiments to turn humans into zombies i.e. soldiers that can last a thousand years or as long as how long they hoped Hitler’s reich would be.
Oddly, the bunker has lax security. The heroes move between the bunker and the attic of a French house with reckless abandon. It belongs to a young woman who gets to boss everyone around because again, this is super woke 1940s.
Here’s where I hate to dump on the film. When we finally get to the zombies, there is some scary shit. Scenes that will scare you and make you fear for our heroes’ safety.
It just makes you wonder why they didn’t bring that all up in the beginning because the overall problem is that the writers couldn’t decide if they wanted to do a straight up war movie or a horror movie and in the end, they don’t do either well.
It’s hard to criticize because I think the point was to make a crappy B horror movie but still…when you bill this as a zombified war movie, don’t make me wait all day to see the zombies.
STATUS: Borderline shelf-worthy although honestly, this is a movie I have no interest in ever seeing again and if you miss it, you aren’t missing much. It had potential and they blew it. Sadly, somewhere out there is a WW2 Nazi scientist experiment gone wrong horror movie that would reel us in and scare the shit out of us…but this is not it and now because of this movie it will probably not be made.
Sad news for “Walking Dead” fans, 3.5 readers.
#1 – My initial hot take is you suck, Andrew Lincoln. I hope this isn’t a ploy where you want more time to do movies because seriously, there is no movie that you could be in that people want to see more than a kick ass series finale to the show that made you a star. Bryan Cranston realized that he had to juggle movies around his main bread and butter, namely sticking with “Breaking Bad” until the end.
#2 – But after calming down for a minute, maybe he doesn’t suck. Lincoln is from England and he points out that the show has kept him from seeing his family for a long time. AMC may be the network that a show about a meth cooking teacher built, but it is also the network that zombies kept afloat and in sticky cash. AMC does not want to ditch those zombies any time soon. It’s a great formula. Hire dummies to run around the woods pretending to fight zombies. Plot = humans need something in a place where zombies are. Fight zombies. Get sad a human dies. Occasionally move to a new place that seems like it is run by nice people at first but then the people are bad. Cut. Print. Repeat.
In that case, you can’t blame Andrew Lincoln for not wanting to stay FOREVER. If AMC is going to keep the zombies coming until the end of time, then I suppose we can’t begrudge Andrew for not wanting to fight the zombies for the rest of his life.
“Law and Order” for example, found a winning formula and it has been on for decades now. Sure, Mariska Hargitay stuck with it but that’s her choice. Other actors haven’t stuck around. I’m not even sure all the actors that were on it in the beginning are still alive.
I think we all have been waiting for that epic series finale that explains all but I have a feeling that AMC will keep “Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” and possible other spin offs going forever, just bands of humans fighting zombies until the end of time.
If they pull it off, more power to them. My gut tells me they won’t and once Rick Grimes leaves, that will be it for the viewership. Maybe not. Maybe they’ll pull it off but that rarely happens when the main star leaves.
Examples I can think of – “That 70s Show” kept going without Topher Grace as his movie career kicked off. I don’t blame the cast and crew for wanting to keep it going but I stopped watching after that and I think most people did because it was cancelled not long after Grace left. Replacing him with a cousin didn’t help.
It’s not impossible to keep a show running without the main character, just unlikely.
#3 – So if Andrew doesn’t want to be Rick until the end of time and AMC wants the zombies forever, I can understand why he wants to exit but even so, we at least need a kickass ending arc to Rick’s character. That will be like a finale for those of us who have stuck with the show from the beginning. Maybe we’ll dump the show after Rick leaves. Maybe we’ll stick around if the writers figure out a great Rick replacement. But at least give us some closure with Rick. I fear that won’t happen but we’ll see.
#4 – Andrew leaving should have been kept quiet. We are now going into the new season with a spoiler. We know Rick will either die or go off on his own or something. If they could have kept Andrew’s leaving quiet, then an unexpected Rick death would have suprised the shit out of all of us.
#5 – We’ll see how it goes but I think Andrew and AMC owed us viewers a good resolution to Rick’s character and to the show itself, because I do have a hard time believing the show can carry on without Rick but we’ll see. We viewers built your network with our support for your show, AMC. We didn’t let you down when “Walking Dead” needed word of mouth and people hyping the show up on social media, so don’t let us down by giving us a lame ending to a show we’ve been watching nearly a decade now.
Hey 3.5 readers.
Bookshelf Q. Battler here.
As you are aware, I have traveled the world, fighting zombies, vampires, werewolves, chupacabras and yes, even ill-tempered hipsters and so I, I know a great deal about the occult.
I’ve shared much of my knowledge on this fine blog, though I doubt any of you have ever paid attention.
Here’s a test. Is Frankenstein, and technically speaking, is Frankenstein’s monster, a zombie?
There is a right answer to this and I know it, but discuss in the comments and I’ll be back later to tell you whether or not Frankenstein is a zombie.
Remember, you must tell me a) if Frankenstein is a zombie and b) why or why not?
Zombies on a train!
BQB here with a review of “Train to Busan.”
As a zombie fan, I’ve been hearing mumblings about this movie in the nerd-o-sphere for awhile now. It’s foreign, the characters speak Korean and it’s in subtitles, but foreign language films don’t necessarily stop me as long as the subject matter is something I’m interested in. Personally, I prefer to read the subtitles and that combined with listening to the tone of voice and facial expressions I can get the gist of what’s going on even though I don’t speak the same language as the actors. Funny how there are some things that transcend language barriers.
Anyway, in many ways, it’s a typical set-up. Mom is divorced from Dad, Seok-woo (Yoo Gong), ostensibly because he works too much in his job as a stock broker, and apparently no matter where you are in the world, wanting to work hard is considered a crime by the ladies but that’s ok. My review doesn’t need to be spoiled by my personal baggage.
Young daughter, Soo-an (Su-an Kim) misses her mother, who lives in Busan, and wants to cut her visit to her father’s home short. After much wrangling, Dad concedes and hops a train with his kiddo.
Yadda, yadda, yadda…zombies! A virus breaks out and South Korea is overrun with brain biters. Worse, they’ve overtaken most cars on the train, leaving human survivors with only a few cars to move around on.
What happens next is a heroic tale of survival. It becomes a constant running test when survivors are faced with a constant, repetitive choice, namely whether to slam a door between cars shut, sacrificing the life of a survivor who hasn’t made it through yet in order to protect one’s self and loved ones from the incoming zombie horde that’s chasing the unlucky human.
What would you do in that position? Risk saving a fellow passenger, or slam the door in their face to protect yourself? It’s a choice that’s made again and again, and as the movie progresses, we are left with a hope that maybe Seok-woo’s cold, businessman mentality might give way to a more humane, caring side.
Daughter Soo-an foils her dad’s efforts to think only for himself and his daughter. She often lends a hand to complete strangers, putting herself at risk and in doing so, involving her old man in situations he’d rather avoid.
Meanwhile, the noble Sang-hwa (Dong-seok Ma) serves as a more overt check on Seok-woo’s conscience, almost bullying the man half his size to do the right thing. While Seok worries chiefly about his daughter, Sang is worried about his pregnant wife, Seong-kyeong (Yu-mi Jeong). Yet, he believes he can save her, his unborn child, and everyone else he can.
No movie would be complete without a villain and that comes in the form of Yon-suk (Eui-sung Kim), a train company executive who, unluckily for everyone else, happens to be riding on the train and is willing to sacrifice just about anyone and everyone just to save his oily hide from the gray matter chompers.
Overall, it’s a great film, a real thinker, with special effects that rival a Hollywood blockbuster. Perhaps one of the more harrowing scenes comes when Seok, Sang and high school student, Yong Guk (Woo-sik Choi) form a three man phalanx and narrowly scrape through a tight car full of brain chewers in order to rescue their respective loved ones.
3.5 readers, Asia has really embraced the action genre and I don’t know if this is a new thing or perhaps it’s just something I’ve been turned onto thanks to Netflix, where you can find a vast cornucopia of Asian action films in subtitles. Some are dubbed with American voices, but I do prefer to just read the subtitles, so catch this one before it obtains a mainstream level of popularity and they ruin it with dubbing.
The Ip Man Series and almost anything with Donnie Yen are worth watching and while Hong Kong seems to be Asia’s Hollywood, South Korea is catching up with this flick.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Seriously, I know a lot of people are like, “Ugh, I have to read subtitles? No thanks. Too much work. It’s worth it and there’s plenty of action on screen to make up for it. It’s currently available on Netflix.