Into the Badlands: The Fort
November 17, 2015 7:41 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In a post-apocalyptic America, self-styled barons have established order through violence and servitude. In a world where firearms have been forbidden, the backbone of the Baron's power are their clippers, warriors trained with deadly expertise in the martial arts. One such clipper, played by Hong Kong action star Daniel Wu, finds his world on the brink of change when he discovers a boy held captive inside a locked chest.
posted by Atreides (9 comments total)
The reviews are pretty consistent, and I'd agree: It is a mash of borrowed tropes, but the fight scenes are great. The preview of upcoming episodes did at least look like it was going to start having some women that kick ass instead of just a bunch of guys. I think that was my main disappointment with the pilot – this dystopian future was depressingly patriarchal.
posted by jimw at 10:06 AM on November 17, 2015

I think I counted five living women in the entire episode compared to dozens of men. It definitely was very patriarchal, right down to the patriarch taking on multiple wives. My hope is that this is by design, as the "Widow/Baron" will have clippers and staff who skew to the feminine gender - perhaps representing something of a backlash to a world where sex exists in a severe imbalance. Or at least, the Baron is the odd ball in the bunch, segregating his sexes. It was basically implied that the Baron believed women became attachments and hence, might interfere in holding him out as the most important thing in their lives. That might well be why we saw so few women on the Baron's land.

The violence, will bloody times, were well choreographed and repeatedly wince inducing. I wouldn't mind a reduction in the gruesome nature of the violence, but at the same time, it's hard not to want to watch it unfold. I would like if they didn't get too creative with the directing, as I felt some of the cuts during the fights from far away to up close, hurt one's ability to appreciate the effort that went into filming and preparing those scenes.

If M.K. looks familiar, he played Bean in Ender's Game. I'm decidedly mixed right now on his character.

The show itself is supposed to be based, presumably quite loosely, on Journey into the West, which is the story of a Chinese monk going west to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures.

Final question: What does Azra (the city on the medallion if I'm not remembering the name right) represent? Is it a city where the end of the world didn't quite end it as much as it did? Does it hold more tech and knowledge? Is it our Emerald City?
posted by Atreides at 10:17 AM on November 17, 2015

The plot was so derivative and boring and that I completely gave up and stopped caring about pretty much anyone or anything after 10 minutes.

I will totally keep watching for the fight scenes, though, which were fantastic.
posted by TwoStride at 11:51 AM on November 17, 2015

The fight scenes are magnificent, but the rest is kinda hammy.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:57 PM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty much with everyone above, and I think 'hammy' is a good word for most of it. I will admit that I was surprised by the whole eye-darkening-kickassness-upgrade? I didn't realize it was that kind of post-apocalyptic story.
posted by sagc at 9:16 PM on November 17, 2015

I like mostly everything about this show except the script. The actors are pretty good*, the production design is very good, the cinematography is of the level we are getting to spoiled to seeing on cable these days, and the broad strokes of the story have promise. But wow, most of the dialogue and much of the scene construction is just shit, shit, shit.

*Marton Csokas, who plays Quinn, was troubling in our house. Because on the one hand, he seems like a charismatic actor and Csokas Marton? Nagyon jó! But on the other, he's using that goddamned plantation accent that actors love so much, even as it hasn't really existed out side of the film & tv industry for generations. I think all actors caught using this accent should be forced to give up their material goods and travel the American South by foot, until they find someone who actually has that accent or one year passes, whichever comes first. (HINT: it will be the second option.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

So Sunny is obviously Sun Wukong. MK could be the monk Tripitaka/Xuanzang, and the Widow is Kuanyin?
posted by vaghjar at 11:04 PM on November 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think if anyone is going to be the Sun Wukong character in this show, it's MK (Monkey King?).
posted by Uncle Ira at 8:13 AM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

The fight scenes are magnificent, but the rest is kinda hammy.

Have you watched wuxia TV shows?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:31 PM on May 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

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