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Review Into the Badlands (2015 - ): Hong Kong Style action goodness!

genre: action, adventure, fantasy, drama

I will be honest with you. When news approached me that AMC was going to make yet another apocalyptic show I was very skeptical. But now having seen the first season (six episodes back to back) I can say that this is a show well worth your time.

First of all this show is very different from The Walking Dead. It's not as dark and gloomy. Although it can be very intense. Most of the time this is due to the characters. We get to know what they are about very quickly but naturally not all is revealed. They all carry their own demons of which I am sure we will learn more about in future seasons. You also don't have to worry about zombies or similar creatures popping up as the monsters in these movies are merely human. Greatest things about despicable humans like Quinn (Marton Csokas) is that despite their evil streaks they are more complex than they seem and you will find yourself understanding and even relating to them more often than you would like to. Daniel Wu as Sunny is a likable character who managed to surprise me as the lead. I know him from several Hong Kong films and in those he was always adequate but never truly made that much of an impression. I was even more surprised to find out that he portrays the villain Gul'dan in Warcraft: The Beginning. So it does look like he has grown as an actor considerably. This makes me want to go back into watching his earlier films to see if I can catch some sparks that I might have overlooked. In any case he is very convincing as the very capable clipper (assassin) and brings us some great martial arts / Kung Fu in an American TV Show. Now I am aware that this show won't be for everyone and that the martial arts will scare off some people. However there are mystical and fantasy elements brought into the mix to make things more interesting and who knows what it will lead to. Next to Daniel Wu you have more characters bringing us action. And surprisingly the majority of these characters are women. One example is Emily Beecham as The Widow. While she is supposed to be the main baddie in this season there is something about her quest that almost seems very noble, sincere and just. Of course she would not be the main baddie if it weren't for her questionable methods. It's a joy to watch Emily kick ass especially since prior to this show she had no martial arts training at all. The same goes for Ally Ioannides as Tilda who manages to captivate you non verbally.

But I also have to mention Orla Brady (as Lydia), Sarah Bolger as Jade and Madeleine Mantock as Veil. Each of them show strength in some shape or form and it is totally intoxicating. It is not often you get to see so many strong female characters in one show and for that it does deserve some credit. Unfortunately the same can't be said for Aramis Knight as M.K. The mysterious boy with incredible powers. It's not that he is not trying. But I am afraid he simply isn't a good enough of an actor to bring what it takes to the role he is playing. Although I am willing to give him a chance. He is very young and he still can improve. For now though he could be considered the weakest link.

Overall I am loving this show so far as it delivers top notch Hong Kong style action, great characters and adequate storytelling. It's light but there is enough going on to keep things interesting. I wished I did not have to wait so long for the second season.

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