Magazine article Variety

Into the Badlands

Magazine article Variety

Into the Badlands

Article excerpt

TV REVIEW

Into the Badlands

SERIES: AMC. Sun. Nov. 15,10 p.m.

WRITERS: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

STARRING: Daniel Wu, Marton Csokas, Orla Brady, Emily Beecham

The action scenes scattered throughout "Into the Badlands" are not just stirringly presented, they represent a test passed with flying - and bloody - colors. This efficient AMC series is an homage to classic samurai films and kinetic action fare churned out by Hong Kong maestros of furious fists, and if the TV drama had failed to meet the standards set by the sturdiest examples of those genres, it would have seemed superfluous at best. Fortunately, star Daniel Wu is more than up to the task of occupying the center of this streamlined story of vengeance, tyranny and roundhouse kicks.

Well-deployed Louisiana locations are used to sketch out a retro-flavored vision of the future in which, after a period of massive unrest, large swathes of territory are controlled by seven barons who control key resources and employ large armies. It's a good thing the barons - whose ranks include an ambitious woman known as the Widow - have lots of fighters in reserve: In the first two episodes, any number of them are dispatched by Sunny, the precise yet ferocious warrior played by Wu.

Sunny is the chief counsel and first lieutenant to a baron named Quinn, a role Marton Csokas tears into like a hungry man at a barbecue shack. Very little about Quinn or the show is subtle, but that's not a dig at this kind of fare, which is meant to be melodramatic and packed with saturated colors and accessible metaphors. …

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