Don’t be fooled by the beautiful farmlands on which AMC’s Into the Badlands is set. This genre-bending Kung-fu TV drama is packed full of bloody Katana sword fights and bone crushing hand-to-hand combat.
Movie screenwriter Alfred Gough crafted the show to fill a notable hole in the prime-time lineup. He told TCA “There wasn’t a martial arts show on television, and we wanted to do a show that would make us jealous if it is on TV.”
Gough consulted with Hong Kong Martial Arts actors Daniel Wu and Stephen Fung to perform authentic Chinese kung fu without computer-generated imagery.
“The level of authenticity in terms of martial arts is actually very crucial to this show and that is why AMC is bringing us to the US to direct the action,” Fung said in a video on AMC.com.
Wu and Fund also incorporated various styles from Krav Maga to MMA to Tai Chi into the fight scenes.
Additionally Wu serves as the show’s star fighter.
Into the Badlands is set in a post-apocalyptic world called the Badlands. The Badlands are divided into seven regions, each governed by seven Barons. The barons’ subjects (called Cogs) grow resources vital to survival on their land. Clippers to keep the cogs in line. Clippers are modern day ninjas trained in the art of killing and who are loyal only to their Barons. There are no guns in the Badlands so all the clippers rely solely on swords and the martial arts.
Sunny, played by Wu, is the most feared clipper, and he fights for a Baron named Quinn.
The only thing is clippers are not allowed to have a family. So when Sunny finds out his lover is pregnant, he begins to consider Quinn and fleeing to the free city of Azra.
As Sunny, Wu performs beautifully choreographed sword play and martial arts techniques with craned arms, couched legs, and beautiful flips.
Into the Badlands airs Sundays at 10 p.m., 9 central. Catch up on the first episode online.