***Spoiler Warning: This post contains character and plot information about Sunday night’s “The Fort.” ***
If you love martial arts and badass fight scenes, AMC’s Into the Badlands and Daniel Wu kicked off your post Walking Dead hour brilliantly last night. The series’ first hour was breathtakingly gorgeous, from shots of poppy fields to the fight choreography (by Stephen Fung), to its impossibly beautiful stars, including Wu, Marton Csokas, Emily Beecham, Orla Brady and Madeleine Mantock. If you’re looking for substance, it’s a little soon to tell how deep we’ll be going; hopefully we’ll be digging a little further into the characters we met. The premise introduces Wu’s Sunny, a killer in the service of one of the dystopian Badlands’ seven ruling barons, who’re constantly trying to unseat each other. Sunny longs for something beyond a life measured by the marks on his back — one for each man he’s killed — and after releasing a powerful teenaged boy (Aramis Knight as M.K.) from a death sentence, Sunny could be looking to break out of his not-so-voluntary (he was kidnapped as a child) servitude. In “The Fort,” we may not get a lot of story — rather, character introductions and initial background information — but, we are rewarded with excellent fight scenes, the best of which rivals Daredevil’s phenomenal second-episode, one-shot, ass-kicking. What ItB’s premiere also has in common with the Netflix series’ first episode is this great sequence, shot in the rain. Like Daredevil’s Matt Murdock, Sunny faces multiple (armed) assassins.
Let’s gif it out; ****Spoilers, obviously!***
(That’s one of Quinn’s rival baron’s hand you see being dripped with blood.)
There’s another great fight between Sunny and a group of Nomads, and in between bookended bouts, Csokas does a fine job chewing the scenery in a damned good southern drawl. Though the first episode doesn’t dig terribly deep, it’s grand enough to merit coming back for another bite or few. After spending the previous hour trying to figure out who’s who and what’s going down on The Walking Dead, Into the Badlands provides the perfect, sumptuous dessert.