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MCN Review: 'Into the Badlands'

AMC looks to resurrect the martial-arts genre on television with its new drama series Into the Badlands.

The series tells the tale of a future society located in an area called the Badlands ruled by several powerful Barons. The Barons are protected by strong and ruthless fighters dubbed Clippers, who will do anything for their leaders.

The series doesn’t waste time establishing its martial-arts chops. Several minutes into the pilot, motorcycle-riding Sunny (Daniel Wu), a lethal Clipper who works for Quinn (Marton Csokas) — the most powerful Baron in the Badlands — rolls up on a field full of dead bodies chained together. After realizing that someone escaped the massacre, he searches for and finds the group of nomads responsible for the killing.

Outnumbered and overmatched, Sunny nevertheless makes quick work of killing everyone in the group in one of the most graphic, well-choreographed swordfight scenes you’ll see on a TV show.

Sunny discovers the nomads had been hiding a teenage boy, MK (Aramis Knight), and soon realizes that the teen has a dark past and secret powers that are desired by another Baron, The Widow (Emily Beecham), who is planning to test Quinn’s position as the leader in the Badlands.

After the action-packed martial arts scene, the series gets bogged down a bit by the establishment of a plotline involving the potentially explosive relationship between the ruling Barons and the development of several key characters, including Baron Quinn’s son, Ryder (Oliver Stark), who is itching to take over his fathers’ role as Baron; Quinn’s supportive wife, Lydia (Orla Brady); and Sunny’s pregnant love interest, Veil (Madeline Mantock).

The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and are worth waiting for as the series finds its footing with regard to plot and character development.

Overall, Into the Badlands is worth a look-see, especially if you’re a fan of apocalyptic-themed plots, feuding warlords and great martial-arts action.