It’s mainly the huge shadow of blockbuster series The Walking Dead, but it often feels like there is a lot of postapocalyptic programming on AMC. But honestly, with the most successful show on TV on your schedule, who wouldn’t mine that vein even deeper? Earlier this year we had spinoff Fear The Walking Dead, and now we have Into The Badlands, debuting on November 15 right after TWD.
Well, you’re in for a treat that night with the Daniel Wu-led martial arts series from Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Into The Badlands, as my video review above says, is a smoldering, serpentine and supremely stylized series that does the legacy of Bruce Lee proud.
Masterfully choreographed by EP and fight director Stephen Fung and superbly executed by the charismatic American-born Hong Kong star Wu, the fight scenes in ITB are gravity defying and mind blowing in a pretty good yarn of a narrative. As a huge martial arts devotee, as I also say in my video review, the series has some of the best and most versatile moves you will ever see on either the small or big screen.
But action is nothing much without story and, though sometimes a bit slow in the carefully measured plot, the story in ITB is intriguingly based on the 16th century tale Journey To The West. The six-episode hourlong series depicts a Southern gothic-tinged, gun-free, godless America long after a great war, where seven barons rule the feudal lands with unsentimental ruthlessness enforced by armies of fighters called Clippers. And, to paraphrase Blade Runner, if you’re not Clipper, you’re little people.
Among the greatest of Clippers is Wu’s Sunny, who serves the Baron Quinn, played like ultimate Amish evil by the too-often-overlooked Marton Csokas. Add to the mix a war brewing among the Barons and the newly empowered Widow, portrayed with icy cool by Emily Beecham, and you have an upside-down world about to flip even more. On top of that, there’s the mysterious and powerful M.K. (Aramis Knight), a young man Sunny saves and brings on as his protégé, and you have journey of change on many levels.
And it is a journey well worth taking – so suit up. Take a look at my Into The Badlands video review and tell us what you think.
This review was originally posted on November 5.