We groan and gripe about sequels, reboots, and remakes, but that doesn’t stop us from consuming every last film that is anyway linked to some of our faves. And so I take on the sequel to Train to Busan and the reboot of Wrong Turn. Okay…I also added them immediately to my personal movie collection before even seeing them.
TRAIN TO BUSAN presents: PENINSULA (2020)
I try to avoid learning anything about a movie before watching and judging it for myself, but I’m so glad I saw plenty of hate for this sequel on social media. I knew what I was in for and simply took it for what it is rather than a “sequel” to the amazing film Train to Busan.
This is simply a zombie action film with loads of CGI that lends itself to thrilling, video game style car chase scenes. And in some cases, car stopping scenes…
The only problem I had with Peninsula is that it could have been trimmed down by 30 minutes to spare us all the “story” and keep up the pace. If you’re going to make an action zombie film, chill on the character development and drama. Seriously.
After the zombie outbreak, Korea has been quarantined. Some idiots accept a job from mobsters to go find a truck filled with money in the quarantine zone.
They get split up when zombies attack. A rogue group that was supposed to be a rescue team has created a sadistic compound. There’s also a surviving family still trapped in quarantine that desperately wants to get out.
It’s just a matter of (too much) time before their worlds collide and a battle to the death is launched. The final half hour of this film totally rocks, with a kick ass car chase scene through a city overrun with zombies.
WRONG TURN (2021)
Normally I would tack a new installment of a long-running series onto my complete blog about the franchise and say just a few brief things about it, but since it isn’t news that the new Wrong Turn is only Wrong Turn in name, I decided to treat it as its own entity, which is exactly how I watched it. That didn’t help any, which is why I really need to talk about it.
What I like about this reboot is that it’s super timely in tackling what’s wrong and quite scary in the U.S. these days. What I don’t like about it is that it’s just a mess.
The basic premise is about a group of extremist crazies that created their own society deep in the woods, waiting for the day that uncivilized society will eat itself alive and they will return as the new foundation of America after the country’s collapse.
A totally woke group of kids comes to bumfuck in search of our history—namely, an old Civil War fort in the woods. If these kids—mostly kids of color, two of them a gay couple, one an interracial straight couple—are so smart, they wouldn’t step foot in Redneckville, U.S., yet here they are. Naturally, this turns into a classic kids vs. backwoods crazies film, and the overall plot of the movie is that the white privileged straight male asshole leads to the downfall of all the minorities. That’s the good part. If only the way it all unfolds wasn’t so damn ridiculous.
Resting white privilege straight man face.
And here is where there are SPOILERS GALORE.
First annoyance is that as soon as they enter a total redneck bar, it’s the straight male asshole who immediately calls out how his group of colorful friends has definitely come to the wrong place and is just asking for trouble. Seems like the smart one, right? Nope. Approximately one minute later he gets snarky about all the rednecks they’re dealing with. WTF? Character consistency anyone?
And yes, it is he who makes all the major mistakes that land all his friends either into a forest riddled with booby traps or the hands of the crazy community. But about those booby traps. The first one is a tree trunk that comes rolling down the hill at them. These clever kids run directly forward away from it instead of, you know, running off to the side and out of its path.
Can you guess who dies first? One of the gay guys, landing this one on the does the gay guy die? page. It’s a nice, gnarly (totally fucking gnarly) death for sure. But what happens next is dumbfounding.
A couple of the backwoods crazies appear wearing pelts and animal skull masks, the straight white male does something really insane to them, and then he announces to his friends that they are leaving and pretending they were never there. Um, dude, there’s squished gay friend all over a tree. Like, seriously, nobody, not even the gay guy’s living boyfriend, mentions his existence at all or how they’re going to explain his disappearance when they get home.
Of course they never do get home. And here comes the next eye-rolling problem. They’re taken to the leader of the crazy community, who makes this big speech about how they’re a peaceful community and the real barbarians are the people in the real world. Seconds later, he tortures and kills most of the kids. Those few still alive must vow loyalty to the community.
Then we’re hit with a jarring shift in the final act. Matthew Modine is the father of one of the girls, and he comes looking for her because the group of friends has been gone for six weeks. Next absurd plot point—when he talks to people in town, they all know about and warn him about the people in the woods. Sooooo…the entire town knows they’re up there and kill anyone who goes missing in the woods, yet they’ve never done anything about it or called a higher authority to do so? Ugh, this movie.
So what do the locals do next? A few of them join Modine, heading into the woods to take on the community and find his daughter! Why didn’t they do this years ago???
And worst of all, when Modine finally gets to the community, somehow, in a matter of less than two months, the surviving kids have become totally brainwashed and dedicated only to serving the community…and they’re also masterful killers. Like, how many city folk wandered into the woods in Redneckville over the course of two months, giving these kids the opportunity to practice their killing skills?
And finally…the conclusion of the film moves to suburbia for the final battle. I can’t with this film. I just can’t.
The most staggering tidbit about this reboot? It was written by the writer of the original amazing Wrong Turn movie from 2003.