Into the Badlands: Season 1

I’ve just watched the first season of this on Amazon Prime, and I found a lot to like in it.

Especially the first episode had a great first-hand impression. Here Sunny arrives, an Asian Neo only in red instead of black and without sunglasses. He encounters a camp of an evil gang and proves this show has an excellent fight choreography.

If only Iron Fist had been anything like this.

Sunny finds the kid M.K. and brings him back to the fort of his master, the baron Quinn. M.K. have secret superpowers whenever he gets cut, something the show wisely keeps rare to begin with. The show opens up to present several feudal baron monopolies, each living in a mansion surrounded by their clippers (fighters) and cogs (slaves). Not surprisingly the barons really dislike each other and Quinn frequently clashes with some of them, especially the redheaded Widow.

Sunny also have a love interest now illegally pregnant and begins toying with the idea of leaving the baron, taking his chances in the Badlands together with her and M.K.

The fighting choreography always mixes “wire fu” martial arts occasionally with blades. Turns out the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where some commodities have been exhausted. Apparently all the ammo for guns and rifles have been depleted forcing everyone to fight the way they do, but we still see a few motorcycles and cars driving around.

So, all the ammo is gone, but the gasoline is still aplenty? I see.

The acting is terrific. There are a few fine names such as Stephen Lang sitting in a wheelchair and later Lance Henriksen, although most are unknown. I particularly liked the actor for the baron Quinn with excellent mannerisms that fit his role perfectly.

If one thing disappointed me, it was that I hoped at first it would be sort of an adventure in the big badlands, traveling through new towns and areas towards their ultimate goal. Instead the entire first season is about the controversies between the barons, a little bit of training, Sunny pondering his escape, and M.K. trying to get to terms with his wild powers.

I wonder if this journey will constantly be delayed in the other seasons too?

On the other hand, it was so nice to see a hero on the side of being actually damn good at fighting and not just be handed his ass because the story required it. The Widow is introduced in a bar as an excellent fighter too and I was afraid that Sunny would not be able to hold up against her, but in a prison in a later episode they finally had a long fight and Sunny was clearly better. She had her ass handed to her and had to retract and recuperate.

In the final episode of the first season Sunny does meet a new type of enemy that he can no longer match and he himself is defeated, but at least he still puts up a good fight. That’s okay with me. As long as it’s shown that he’s doing what he can instead of just being knocked down easily.

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