Blu-ray Review: Into The Badlands: The Complete First Season

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Into the Badlands was created by showrunners/executive producers/writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and executive produced by Oscar-nominated producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg, director David Dobkin fight directors Stephen Fung and Daniel Wu. In addition to Daniel Wu and Aramis Knight, Into the Badlands stars Marton Csokas as Quinn, Oliver Stark as Ryder; Emily Beecham as Widow, Orla Brady as Lydia, Sarah Bolger as Jade, Ally Ioannides as Tilda, and Madeleine Mantock as Veil.

Centuries from now, civilization as we know it has ceased to exist. Billions perished and nations collapsed, but over time, a feudal society emerged where the strongest rose to wealth and power. This area, known as the Badlands, is uneasily divided among seven rival Barons who control the resources necessary to daily life. Each Baron has loyal armies of trained assassins known as Clippers. Baron Quinn s head Clipper, Sunny (Daniel Wu), grew swiftly through the ranks to become Quinn s most trusted advisor. For decades, Quinn has been unchallenged as the Badlands most powerful Baron, but there is a rising suspicion among his rivals that he is growing vulnerable. The territory s newest Baron, The Widow (Emily Beecham), has begun testing his appetite for a fight. An ambush leads Sunny to a teenage boy, M.K. (Aramis Knight), who Sunny soon learns harbors a dark secret and has a hefty bounty on his head. Sunny selects M.K. as his Colt (student) and together, they will embark on an odyssey that could mean the difference between chaos and enlightenment for everyone in the Badlands.

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First of all, the writing for Into the Badlands is as smart and thought-provoking as any other series on television. The six-episode first season plays out more like a movie than something made for television. The acting is great and all of these characters are just so interesting plus each one has something important to add to the story. I’m fascinated with these characters and the drama they bring to the table. This futuristic world that has been created is also something of beauty and amazement as well as danger. The sets, wardrobes, and props all helped to bring this world of the Badlands to life. There’s a definite steampunk vibe going on so be sure you look closely at Sonny’s awesome motorcycle. The currency used is also a little different so you might see someone pay for goods and services with a simple piece of plastic – like a toy soldier or chess pieces. Bartering and trading is how you survive sometimes. There’s also the amazing action scenes and fight sequences that are all extemely well choreographed. There’s also some epic looking poses at times! There’s maybe one big fight that takes place in each episode but it’s definitely enough to satisy any adrenaline junkie’s cravings. There are also some impressive practical effects used to help pull off some of these amazing stunts and it’s very well done.

The series centers around Sonny, who is Baron Quinn’s right hand man and the deadliest assassin there is, but he’s also a good man with a conscience. Quinn on the other hand is as ruthless as they come and when Sonny learns first hand how bad this father figure of his really is, their close relationship becomes fractured. The other main focus is on M.K. who has this mysterious dark energy inside of him but he doesn’t know how he got it or how to really control it. As soon as Sonny realizes the boy is special, he quickly takes him under his wing to not only protect him, but to keep the Barons from using him for their own personal gain. There’s also The Widow, a rival Baron who becomes a major thorn in Quinn’s side, plus she learns of M.K.’s special ability and wants to use him to gain more control of the Badlands. She’s the closest thing to a rival that Quinn has ever had and things definitely get heated up between the two factions. By the end of the first season the viewer gets a hint of where M.K. comes from and we learn that he’s not the only one with these special abilities. During the finale, a mysterious trio shows up to retrieve M.K. and Sonny finds out that he’s no match for these powerful visitors who end up leaving with what they came for. Sonny is left wounded and finds himself in a rather bad predicament and M.K. is headed back to where he came from.

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The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes series details, some images and list of special features. Both discs also feature some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Into the Badlands: The Complete First Season was as epic as a freshman series can get in so many ways. From the amazing storytelling to the beautiful cinematography, it’s all so very well done. If I could describe the series, I would call it a combination of Crouching Tiger meets Mad Max neets The Matrix that is set in a steampunk future. I really couldn’t find any flaws in this hit martial arts series and trust me because I tried. When it first aired on AMC, I had decided to pass on the series but I accidentally watched the third episode and it absolutely blew me away. Needless to say, I was hooked after witnessing this one episode and quickly played catchup so now I’m addicted to it. Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of this amazing new world of danger and mystery from Alfred Gough and Miles Millar who are known for cranking out some fan favorite series over the years, and this one here, well it’s one of their best! This 2-disc Blu-ray set releases on November 8th and definitely comes highly recommended. Welcome to the Badlands!

Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Run Time: 2 Discs / 6 Episodes / 255 Minutes

  1. The Fort
  2. Fist Like a Bullet
  3. White Stork Spreads Wings
  4. Two Tigers Subdue Dragons
  5. Snake Creeps Down
  6. Hand of Five Poisons

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Bonus Features: Good Stuff! This 2-disc set includes featurettes that take the viewer deeper into the world of the Badlands. The extras also include the making of the fight scenes, character profiles, the digital comic and more.

Inside “Into the Badlands” – Six featurettes that take the viewer behind-the-scenes of each epic episode.

  • Inside Ep. 1 (03:56)
  • Inside Ep. 2 (02:17)
  • Inside Ep 3 (03:15)
  • Inside Ep. 4 (03:56)
  • Inside Ep. 5 (03:14)
  • Inside Ep. 6 (03:37)

Anatomy of a Fight – Six featurettes that show how some of the amazing action and stunt sequences were created.

  • Ep. 1 (03:08)
  • Ep. 2 (02:57)
  • Ep. 3 (02:55)
  • Ep. 4 (02:21)
  • Ep. 5 (02:10)
  • Ep. 6 (02:19)
  • Building the World of “Into the Badlands” (02:54)
  • The Characters Of “Into the Badlands”: The Barons (03:23)
  • The Characters Of “Into the Badlands”: The Clippers (03:15)
  • The Master: “Into the Badlands” Fight Camp Episode 1 (02:57)
  • Creating Real Kung Fu: “Into the Badlands” Fight Camp Episode 2 (03:22)
  • Bringing It All Together: “Into the Badlands” Fight Camp Episode 3 (02:38)
  • “Into the Badlands” Digital Comic (22:55)
  • Digital HD Copy
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