I had an absolute blast with Peninsula. My expectations weren’t too high, considering it’s a sort-of sequel to such a good original, but it manages to do what I like a sequel to do: expand the canvas and build the world. When your predecessor is such a clean, simple concept with such slick execution, there really is nothing else for it but to do something different, somewhere else.

Some years after the zombie outbreak of Train to Busan, it turns out that Busan wasn’t such a safe haven after all – at least, not for long. The whole South Korean part of the Korean peninsula is effectively quarantined before everyone left alive can be evacuated, hemmed in efficiently at its land border by North Korea. This means that, unusually for a zombie movie, the problem is contained in one place with the rest of the world carrying on as normal, albeit with the addition of a new underclass of South Korean refugees to accommodate. I knew in advance that this was, at least in part, a heist movie and wondered how that would work in the middle of an apocalypse. Well, that’s how – our protagonists have to get in, do the job, and get out.

Once inside the contaminated zone, the film borrows heavily from George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, which is all right by me because Land of the Dead is an underrated classic. And there are more than a few welcome hints of The Road Warrior and 28 Days Later.

Being a separate story from Train to Busan there’s a whole cast of new, decent characters, a fair few of whom get to drive around like lunatics for a pleasing amount of the running time. A climactic road chase is pure entertainment. And there’s an unusually optimistic tone to Peninsula that you won’t find in many zombie movies.

Having said that, there’s very little originality elsewhere. It doesn’t matter because it’s all done rather well. The only downside, for me, was a saccharine sequence that played out way too long right at the end of the film. It speaks to how good the rest of it is that I didn’t have a problem at all with the sometimes obvious CGI FX work and (that curse of many an Eastern film) shit English-speaking actors.

Is this better than Train to Busan? No, probably not, but it’s close in its own way. It’s better than Seoul Station, which was OK, but Peninsula is a must-see.

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