Into the deadlands
It's difficult to come up with an original idea from the sub-genre that is the zombie films. Nothing quite original has been brought to it since 2002's relentlessly scary 28 Days Later, where director Danny Boyle was able to change the game by making zombies being able to run of all things. A subtle change like that was able to amplify the intensity so easily and yet nothing else has been able to replicate its' success since. Originality is the component to weaving a good zombie story, which is where 2016's Train to Busan found its' runaway success. Hoping that lightning strikes twice, the sequel Peninsula attempts something new like its' predecessor by expanding the scope and going big like with any sequel. Whereas the first film focused on the survival of a group on a train, this follow up boasts a post-apocalypse vibe where South Korea has officially gone to hell and the whole country has been overrun with the dead. The few that were able to get out to seek refuge haven't been able to re-establish their lives since the outbreak 4 years prior. A group lead by Jung-Seok (Gang Dong-won), an ex-marine corp soldier, decides to take a risk of going back in to recover an abandoned storage of money in hopes of bettering their situation. Peninsula achieves overcoming "sequelitis" by being different from the first film in terms of tone and setting; Train to Busan had a more dreadful feeling of claustrophobia and linear approach, Peninsula is more open-ended and action-oriented. Although it strays very far from its' original roots, Peninsula develops into a better film as a result and impressively so. Fans of the first film may feel the sequel changed way too much but those who do give it a watch will be left both entertained and impressed like I did. Highly recommended.