April 1, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Snowpiercer (2014)

(aka The Train of Life)
Release Date: June 27th Limited, U.S. 
Country: S. Korea, USA, France, Czech Republic.
Written by: Bong Joon-Ho and Kelly Masterson.
Directed by: Bong Joon-Ho.
Starring: Chris Evans, Song Kang-Ho, Tilda Swinton, Ah-sung Ko, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Luke Pasqualino, Alison Pill, John Hurt, and Ed Harris.

Snowpiercer has already been released in plenty of Countries around the World (its best to check IMDB for which ones, because it's a long list), but we here in The States won't be seeing it until June 27th, when it gets a Limited Theatrical release. Of course with Transformers Part 14 coming out that very same week, Snowpiercer will go largely unnoticed by audiences as they instead flock to see the latest big budget tent-pole juggernaut.

Shame, that, because Snowpiercer is a great movie that has plenty of subtext and substance to offer audiences... which is probably the exact reason that they will go and see the latest Michael Bay Gem instead.

So it turns out that Global Warming is in fact a real thing, and a trickier bastard than we could have ever imagined; you see, it tricked us into fighting it, and by doing so, we triggered a new ice age which pretty much killed all life on the planet... All life that is except for the life which still lives on the massive, global-spanning train called the Snowpiercer!

Yeah, the world is pretty much a big freezer now, and it's our own fault.
The Snowpiercer runs on a perpetual-motion engine, which means that it never stops traversing the null the system of tracks that its creator, Gingle*, laid out years before in his bid to dominate global rail travel. *We think his name was Gingle, or something close. We can't remember. Either way, it's pretty much life as usual aboard the Snowpiercer, at least as far as class systems go; the "Social Elite" live at the front of the train, and they have it way better than do the "Poor Losers" who live in the cars at the rear.

It's good to see that the old "put shoe on head" gag survives the apocalypse.
Curtis, one of the aforementioned poor losers, is tired of the pricks at the front of the train treating he and his people like slave livestock; they feed them only mysterious, nasty, gelatinous protein blocks; they periodically take their kids away, never to return them; and they have bacon. Of course this means that revolution in nigh, and so a plan to get to the front of the train and take control of the engine, is put into motion.

"We're here for the fucking bacon!"
Will Curtis and his band of usurpers make it to the engine and topple Gingle's evil New World Order? Will freedom and equality ever be had for all aboard the Snowpiercer? And what exactly is in those nasty protein bocks? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but suffice it to say that things get pretty crazy, and it's mostly Tilda Swinton's fault. Her and those damned eggs.

"Put... this shoe... on your FUCKING HEAD!"
It's not a movie without flaws, but on the whole, Snowpiercer was one hell of a good time. We're suckers for a good Post Apocalyptic story, and when that story is full of action and interesting characters (played by great actors), we're even bigger suckers. We'll admit that some of the CGI looked like CGI, but we were so sucked in by the dire and cold atmosphere of the frozen world, and the bleak hopelessness of the train and its downtrodden, that it didn't ruin anything for us.

At its heart, Snowpiercer is a movie about the haves and the have nots of a Post Apocalyptic world. In this dystopian future, the rich and elite members of society want to keep the poor and unfortunate in their places, so as not to disturb the status quo. Sure, everyone aboard the train is alive, but it's really only the people at the front of the train who are living well. Everyone else exists to make that better life possible for those lucky enough to be living it. This is definitely a movie that is heavily steeped in metaphor.

The movie boasts one hell of a cast as well. Chris Evans has been the man for a long while now, and not just because of Captain America; the kid has proven that he has chops (both dramatic and comedic) time and time again, and with Snowpiercer, he's raised his dramatic game up to an even higher level. On the Korean side of the same awesome actor coin, is Song Kang-Ho; if you aren't familiar with South Korean films, then you're probably not familiar with his work, which is a shame. The guy has a dynamic range, and is a pleasure to watch in everything he's in. These two guys together, made Snowpiercer a better movie.

Everyone else was great in this one too, and I'm not going to list them all individually, but I will say that as someone who usually isn't the biggest fan of Tilda Swinton, she was ridiculously great here. It was honestly mesmerising watching what she did with her character, and our hats are off to her performance. We also didn't recognize Luke Pasqualino from Skins until after the fact, and it was fun to see him kick so much ass as Gray in this one.

These guys look like survivors of the Michigan Winter of 2014.
We would have liked to have seen a bot more of the "aftermath" of the movie's goings-on at the end. The build-up to the climax was great, but then the movie ended abruptly and left us with a lot of questions. Then again, we had a lot of questions before the movie ended too, so I don't know.

We just wanted more! *Answers and movie.

Oh right, because chickens survived the ice age!
That song. What in the hell was with that song!? Even worse were the Stepford Wife & her Demon Kids who sang it. Truly creepy.

There's a lot of quirkiness going on in this movie, and that's to be expected from anything written and directed by someone from South Korea, but man was that scene just odd and uncomfortable.

"Praise be to Gingle! Gweechy gwee!"
Violence and gore are all over the place in this one, because it's a movie about revolution! The nastiest bits come during the very South Korean-esque group fight scenes, and we all know that South Korean genre flicks do not shy away from the violence and gore.


Don't ever go head-to-head with Captain America, because you will lose, sir! Also, it was not Soylent Green after all.

"Then what was it?"
Snowpiercer is a great Post Apocalyptic Sci-Fi flick, that will undoubtedly end up being a Cult Classic for most fans of the genre. If you like your action balanced with an equal amount of substance, and if you're willing to suspend your disbelief as far as certain plot elements are concerned, then you'll most likely love this movie as much as we did.

If not, then you always have Transformers 32 to look forward to this Summer. Either way, you win.


Here's a special treat for all of you guys and gals that love the idea of seeing Chris Evans with his shirt off. Also, some Alison Pill.


  1. Best movie of 2014 (US Release Date). Bong Joon-Ho is one of the best directors in the world right now.....

  2. Snowpiercer, Killers, The Raid 2... What is it with so many Asian movies being the best of 2014?

    Joon-Ho is top tier for sure.

  3. Overall, this is a solid, distinctive and sometimes exquisitely inspired thriller-and-beyond.