There might not be another television series like Into the Badlands. The series starts off with a man riding a motorcycle but then ending up in a battle with Nomads in the country with a sword as his weapon. The only weapons used in this battle are handheld weapons because guns are illegal in a futuristic society that has reverted back into Feudal Empires.
Sunny is a Clipper, who is a trained soldier and killer, and he has killed 404 people when the television series begins. He works for a Baron named Quinn, who heads the Opium trade – basically making him the drug lord in the future. There is a strong jealousy from Quinn’s son Ryder towards Sunny, as Quinn almost looks at Sunny as the favored son. The Baron also has multiple wives and the family unit here is one that is Shakespearean in nature, with betrayals carrying the story.
The Baron also has multiple wives and the family unit here is one that is Shakespearean in nature, with betrayals carrying the story. There is also a Civil War brewing between Quinn and another Baron who is known only as The Widow. If this war breaks out, it will cause a huge war between the seven Barons that rule the Badlands in the post-apocalyptic America.
Sunny has also fallen in love with a woman, which is forbidden for any Clipper, and when she ends up pregnant, Sunny realizes he has something to fight for outside of his sworn duties to Quinn. When a boy that Sunny saved named M.K. turns out to have very powerful, and dark, mystical powers that he can’t control, everything starts to unravel.
The boy comes from a home beyond the Badlands that Sunny has always dreamed about. When Sunny sees M.K., he realizes that he wants to find a way out of the Badlands for him and the woman he loves. This is even more apparent when Sunny realizes that Quinn is not a man that he wants to follow anymore. These events set up the loose plot that takes up this first season of six episodes of Into the Badlands.
The fact that guns have been removed from the equation makes Into the Badlands something very unique in today’s television world. Even shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones has firepower available. However, when it comes to Into the Badlands, it is all about swordplay and martial arts.
It’s like a John Woo movie with no guns and is very similar to films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Hero. However, this movie takes place in a future that is just as much Mad Max as it is wushu.
Daniel Wu is at the top of his game as Sunny, probably the best Clipper in this world. He proves himself throughout the first season of Into the Badlands as a master when it comes to his martial arts work and is a great charismatic presence on the screen as well.
Wu leads a solid cast that includes veterans like Stephen Lang, Lance Henriksen, Emily Beecham, and Martin Csokas as well as young talents like Sarah Bolger, Ally Ioannides, and 15-year-old Aramis Knight as M.K.
The camerawork is top notch and the martial arts choreography is also incredibly well done. While the actual plot of the first six seasons of Into the Badlands is pretty shallow, the entire fight choreography, cinematography, and action scenes really help to overshadow the idea that this is Shakespeare-light.
The season ends with a huge cliffhanger and that makes the news that AMC renewed Into the Badlands for a second season good news. Despite its flaws, Into the Badlands is a refreshing bit of storytelling and worth a look if you like martial arts and wushu.
Into the Badlands Special Features
It takes a lot to get people to buy physical copies of TV shows today, mostly because Netflix, Hulu, and more make it easy to just stream the shows as part of the subscription price. However, there are still people such as myself that want to own the DVD or Blu-ray versions of the movies. However, it is important for the release to have some great special features to make it worth the money.
Into the Badlands doesn’t skimp on the number of special features offered on the Blu-ray edition of the Season 1 release.
- Inside Into the Badlands
- Anatomy of a Fight
- Building the World of Into the Badlands
- The Characters Of Into the Badlands: The Barons
- The Characters Of Into the Badlands: The Clippers
- The Master: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 1
- Creating Real Kung Fu: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 2
- Bringing It All Together: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 3
- Into the Badlands Digital Comic
The first special features on the Blu-ray are the Inside Into the Badlands features. I’m going to skip those for now and talk about them later when discussing the digital copy special features. Just know for now that they are the only special features that exist on both the Blu-ray and the digital copy.
Up next is a series of features called Anatomy of a Fight. There is one of these for every episode of the season. This is exactly what it claims to be, with about three minutes each episode where the cast, choreographer, and director talks about how they achieved the huge fights in each episode.
After that, the next Into the Badlands special feature is Building the World of Into the Badlands. This is a three-minute feature that talks about how they built the world of the series and what they were thinking of when choosing what to include in this society. The best quote is that this is a “fantasy world that is familiar” and Steampunk was an inspiration.
The next two features focus on the characters. with the first talking about the Barons and the second about the Clippers. The Barons feature focuses on Quinn and his family and on the Widow. The Clippers feature is about the hierarchy of the Clippers and about Sunny’s position as a Regent, one of the most respected men in the realm of Clippers. They also focus on Tilda and M.K. This feature also talks about Veil and her role as a doctor for the Clippers.
The next batch of special features comes with the Fight Camp specials. These are about eight minutes in total and runs three episodes showing the choreography and fight training for the Inside the Badlands television series.
Finally, there is an Into the Badlands digital comic that runs about 23 minutes in length. This comic is basically a re-telling of the first episode of the season in the digital comic format.
Into the Badlands Digital Copy
I really have to give the Into the Badlands Blu-ray/Digital HD combo some major credit. One of the things that I hate the most about digital copies is that they usually just present the movie and not the special features. While a lot of people don’t care about special features, I don’t see the purpose in getting a digital copy without them because of how many times you would need to watch it in order to make up for the difference in the rental price.
However, with Into the Badlands, there are some great special features included with the digital copy. Outside of the six episodes of Into the Badlands Season 1, there are also seven special features.
First up is a look at the series, which is just over three minutes of interviews and footage while everyone talks about making the series. Then, there is a special “inside the episode” feature for each episode of the series. They aren’t huge features, but they are extras that you won’t get by just streaming the series online.
Each of these features basically breaks down the major plot point of each episode and describes why it is so important to the series. The show creators and actors each talk about the major scenes with important clips to show the action as it moves forward. Honestly, it also works as a great Cliffs Notes for anyone who is curious about the series.