TV Review: Into The Badlands Series One

The show’s first episode opens up on such vibrant colour of red.
You’re going to be seeing a lot of red throughout these six few episodes.

Endless fields of poppies are disturbed by a fast moving motorcycle.
It’s rider happens across a group of now dead travellers dispatched gruesomely and their cargo missing. A indifferent voice over explains chillingly how the world as we know it has ended and that a new world governed by Barons, gun laws and mysterious Clippers now exists.

Our motorbike rider is in fact one of these clippers, and eventually tracks down a large gang of nomads responsible for the slaughter.

And proceeds kicks seven shades of shit out of everyone with his kung fu.

Welcome to the Badlands.

Into The Badlands is a welcome departure from the brown and grey scaled apocalypse of AMC’s The Walking Dead and a new journey through a new dystopian world of deadly kung fu, charismatic barons and double crossing treachery all rendered in ultra high colourful saturation.

We follow Sonny, a Clipper (like a kung fu policeman, seriously) who works for his Baron, Quinn. Sonny rescues M.K, an annoying boy from the nomads and discovers he carries a lethal secret. The Widow, another baron ruling the Badlands, wants M.K captured and brought to her alive for this secret. Baron Quinn’s son wishes to overthrow his father’s rule. Quinn’s wife wishes to put her competition out the picture.

As you can tell, you as an audience are expected to take in a lot of world building and that’s only in the first episode, but what a world to build.
Into The Badland’s world is a pleasure to learn about and the thought and design into each aspect really shows, and by the end of the series you have only just scratched the surface.

ITB’s biggest draw is it’s incredible fight choreography, with Daniel Wu unleashing some incredible bouts of fighting that fulfil my love for martial arts films. Every fight scene doesn’t shy away from the gory details and makes it all the more satisfying when necks are snapped and arms are broken, but also the sheer beauty of the movement is a sight to behold.

The story of Sunny and M.K provides the main drive of the plot alongside Quinn’s attempts to keep control of his land while warding off attacks from the Widow.
All of these characters have great interesting directions to go within the plot of the show. But sadly this comes at a price.

I must warn everyone now: the acting is some of the worst I’ve ever seen, especially from Daniel Wu as Sonny which i’m not surprised with as it can be easily believed that he must be more of a fight choreographer first and actor second.
However everyone else has no excuse, and though some of the dialog is cringy and cliche to say the least, some great acting could have pulled it off, but it ends up sounding far less professional as that of the acting on The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. Some plot lines run out of steam as the series goes on as well which doesn’t help either.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to look past the god awful acting and see the great show beneath the cheesy delivery of dialogue. Once you have completed this feat you will be rewarded with such a great fun ride of a show.

And with series two coming in March with new actors like Nick Frost and also more time for the actors to ease into their characters, it can only improve from here.

Into The Badlands: 8/10 (6 if you can’t make it past the acting: trust me, it’s possible)


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