#Alive 살아있다 Saraitda (2020) - South Korea [Netflix]
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Let’s just say that “Alive” should have been the “Train to Busan” sequel rather than the boring “Peninsula”. Although that’s not saying much when compared to the critically dud, this Netflix’s attempt to rehash the Korean zombie genre is insanely exciting, fun, engaging and even tense to watch. Director Cho Il-hyung manages to craft the film in three excellent act, the first to set the tone and put the main character into survival and shock mode, then the 2nd the meeting of a fellow survivor and love interest to sustain the survival tale and the final act of risk and redemption as hope and miracle takes centerstage. In all normality, such a cliche structure could easily have failed, but the lead characters played by Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye makes the ride worth the distance even through some undeniably cheesy moments as they slash through a crowd of zombie. As with all zombie films, suspension of belief is grossly required.
Yoo Ah-in takes centerstage as the video gamer who manages to somehow survive by staying at home, during a zombie epidemic. Yoo makes a good presences and shows brilliant chemistry with fellow survivor played by the always wonderful Park Shin-Hye. Park assured and matured display makes the film more intense and engaging as she brave her way into heroine mode. It’s duo interactions and character building that adds up to the emotional connection to audience as we reached the grand finale. By the end, we do care about their situations and happenings and that’s why the film worked out in the end.
All in all, “Alive” is grossly entertaining affair from start to finish. In the state of the current pandemic situation, there are many moments that we can probably relate towards. Of the two big zombie Korean films, “Alive by far excels over the boring “Peninsula” and showing the importance of having human characters that we care about. At the end of the day, it is not how many Zombies there is out there, but rather the story of survival that makes “Alive” more engaging and entertaining experience.
I rated it 7.5/10