Into The Badlands: Season 1
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Into The Badlands: Season 1

Every fight that you watch on television or in the movies are choreographed. The moves encounter moves, each punch and kick more carefully planned. Usually, the coordinator’s responsibility to create the storyboards and drilled the actors and stuntmen in the nuances of every aspect of the fight to make it seem realistic. Of all the different types of fights staged for entertainment, none are as meticulously planned as those involving the martial arts. Even if you are not a particular fan of this form of combat credit has to be given to the exquisite elegance of the encounter. The hard work and endless hours of preparation elevating the stunt to gravity-defying extreme examples of this have come to be known as Hong Kong Wirework. It has been so popular that us one of the most common types of fight choreography currently in use. There is considerable skill involved, but much of the credit falls to the wires, harnesses, and pullies that negate the laws of gravity. Fortunately for action fans the latest original program on the AMC network, ‘Into the Badlands,' as chosen to eschew such obvious contrivances. This series pulls the audience in a post-apocalyptic danger and action. Hard-core fans of this genre will undoubtedly be mesmerized by the intensity of the battle sequences for those of us who want a little more steak with our sizzle series those foreshortened comes to an entirely cohesive narrative. In martial arts movies, it is not uncommon to supplant strong plot lines the high-octane action when it comes to a television series this becomes problematic. In a movie, you can get away with simplistic motivation such as "you killed my brother," or winning a deadly tournament. With the television series, the story has to be developed over some episodes. In this format, it is crucial the character development and motivation the given priority over those sequences that admittedly demonstrate a great expertise in staging such combat. While this series excels in excitement premise creates a situation which demands extraordinary amount of exposition.

The opening monolog explains the basic tenets of how the world has come to such a degraded state. There was a series of global conflicts and wars that occurred so far back that the details are lost in the fog of time. Of the fear and chaos, a group of seven individual rose to power declaring themselves Barons. This socio-political system returns the survivors to an arrangement closer to the feudal system that dominated the world during the dark ages. Circumstances such as this post-apocalyptic world provide a perfect environment for the assent of such warlords in the inevitability of the elevation to a noble title to legitimatize their draconian this world seven Barons divided the known world each one controlling some crucial product or the medieval world Lords had their knights to serve as guards, representatives and enforcer referred to as Clippers. In the field, they embody the absolute authority of the Baron which they wield as the sole arbiters of life or death. The first of this elite rank the audience encounters is Sonny (Daniel Wu), the head clipper bound to the most ruthless and successful Baron, Quinn (Marton Csokas). Quinn was a former Clipper who fought his war to become the most powerful and feared man in the world. Quinn’s experience as a former Clipper Quinn allowed him better understands the motivations of his fighting force. His Clippers live like royalty given the best living conditions possible. His heir and only son, Ryder (Oliver Stark), considers himself a dangerous fighter but despite any acumen he might have attained he pales in comparison to most Clippers. The first time we see Sonny, he is acting on the orders of his Baron. In this case, it required the slaughter of an overwhelming group of men quite handily.

The arch nemesis of Quinn and the other Barons was a woman, Minerva (Emily Beecham), better known simply as ‘The Widow.' Until recently she was the head wife of a Baron, but with no male heir, Minerva seized control elevating her to a position traditionally only held by men. Before actually seeing the Widow the conversations about her paint her as a highly manipulative ruler posing a formidable threat to the delicate status quo. Her first actual appearance was as impressive as Sonny’s initial fight scene. The Widow is a whirling dervish of lethal force. Lithe, agile and deadly accurate her tight fitting outfit does little to conceal her well-toned figure, but the tight fitting leather holds a considerable number of sharp weapons. The only thing more impressive that watching the Widow mow through the substantial number of highly trained warriors is watching her teenage daughter, Tilda (Ally Ioannides). A wager made by the Widow with those opposing her pitted her daughter against the fiercest of the group of violent rivals. Despite her opponent being more than twice her mass and size Tilda quickly kills him.

With all of this political intrigue permeating the overall story the degree of complication is further enhanced with the introduction of a seemingly average teenage boy, M.K. (Aramis Knight). There is nothing overly outstanding about the young man until slicing his flesh. Drawing blood places M, K, into a fugue state where he transformers into a deadly, unstoppable killer. Only Sonny knows the truth both others have heard stories of such a person and are actively searching for him. To keep him safe and train him in the fine nuances of battle. He approaches Baron Quinn to take on M. K, as his trainee or Colt. Naturally, there is some supporting characters with the primary purpose of elaborating Om specific aspects of the primary characters. One example that readily comes to mind is Ringo (Yohance Myles), a tattoo artist whose clientele is predominantly Quinn’s Clippers. All Clippers tend to sort an ample amount of ink by Sonny has a distinctive series of stripes, each one represents a kill done in service to his Baron when Quinn orders Sonny to murder an innocent Sonny refuses. This would mean death for the Clipper, but Sonny is far too valuable. Quinn does the deed personally but commands Sonny to assume the responsibility for the death. Dutifully, Sonny has Ringo add the stripes to his collection.

Fundamentally, this freshman season is an origin story which by its nature overly heavy in exposition. This frequently manifests as a plodding pace which in this instance is exasperated by the constant juxtaposition to such ideally staged martial arts. There is more than the usual amount of details necessary to understand the characters and the situation that drives the primary focus of the story. There is a complicated tapestry where each thread contributes to the overall story. The audience is rapidly immersed into such a plethora of details all of which are necessary to understanding the story. It is only natural under such conditions that the viewers would feel overwhelmed when inundated by this daunting prerequisite for enjoyment. Imagine being required to solve a jigsaw puzzle before being able to enjoy your favorite television show. It is a considerable emotional and intellectual investment for a TV show, particularly for one that is ostensibly designed to attract fans of martial arts. Hopefully, season two will fare better now that the underlying mythos has been established.

bulletInside Into The Badlands
bulletAnatomy Of A Fight
bulletBuilding The World of Into The Badlands
bulletThe Characters Into The Badlands : The Barons
bulletThe Characters Of Into The Badlands : The Clippers
bulletThe Master: Into The Badlands Fight Camp Episode 1
bulletCreating Real Kung Fu: Into The Badlands Fight Camp Episode 2
bulletBringing It All Together: Into The Badlands Fight Camp Episode 3
bulletInto The Badlands Digital Comic

Posted 11/16/2016

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