Sunday, September 24, 2023

Gangnam Zombie, on DVD

One of the worst things about zombie outbreaks is the negative impact on property values. We’re supposed to loathe a character in this Korean zombie movie for thinking that way, but it is hard to deny her logic. The re-sale value of her mixed-use office building-upscale shopping center will plunge rather steeply in Lee Su-seong’s Gangnam Zombie, which releases Tuesday on DVD And BluRay.

It all starts with a feral cat (they really are nasty creatures). The small-time crook it infects stumbles all the way to Seoul’s Gangnam district, eventually entering a building sort of like the Deutsche Bank Center (formerly Time Warner). Likeable Hyun-seuk works there, but he isn’t getting paid by his slimy boss, who is trying to build a knock-off “Funny or Die” viral prank video channel. Business is bad, but Hyun-seuk does not want to go home to the countryside, because he carries a torch for his sexually harassed co-worker, Min-jeong.

Fortunately for all his co-workers, Hyun-seuk was an alternate for the national taekwondo team, so he can fight zombies from a safer distance using his jump-kicks. He will do his best to save everyone, even their Scrooge-like landlady, who is always complaining about poor people’s lack of manners and hygiene.

It is fitting some of
Gangnam Zombie takes place in a mall, because Dawn of the Dead obviously looks like an inspiration for Lee, especially in terms of its class-conscious social commentary. Frankly, some of the landlady’s dialogue is absolutely laughable—in the wrong way, from Lee’s perspective.

However, the zombies come fast and furious. Not even running a full 90-minutes,
Gangnam Zombie is definitely a quick watch. Ji Il-joo has impressive action chops and he makes Hyun-seuk quite a likeable, relatable, down-to-earth zombie fighter. Unfortunately, Park Ji-yeon is so defensively reserved playing Min-jeong, she never develops much chemistry with Ji. However, Yung Yi-joo is a laugh-out-loud riot as the landlady and Jo Kyung-hoon is suitably fierce as the alpha-prime zombie.

cannot boast much originality, except maybe its wickedly droll final twist, but it always maintains a high energy level. If you are in the mood for a zombie movie, this is certainly a competent one—far more entertaining than a lot of the Walking Dead-Living Dead knock-offs out there. Recommended for what it is, Gangnam Zombie releases Tuesday (9/26) on DVD and BluRay, from Well Go USA.