AMC’s “Into the Badlands” brings Martial Arts back onto American TV

AMC’s new series – Into the Badlands – has lofty ambitions. Not only does the show want to succeed on a channel that’s already had success with dramas like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, but the cast and crew behind the show hope it kick starts a new television genre. 

Stephen Fung, the show’s fight director who is also a famous actor and filmmaker in Asia, said that was the goal. He wanted to bring Hong Kong-style martial arts action to Into the Badlands.

“It’s not just perceived as fist-fighting—it’s more like a dance. We choreographed it like a dance. Each move is very specific,” Fung said. Fung and Daniel Wu, a veteran actor with a heavy martial arts background, are integral to the show’s fluidity and authenticity.

“It brings that big screen level of action that we’re used to in Hong Kong to the American small screen,” Wu said, and mentions there should be two big fight scenes per episode. He promised the fighting gets crazier as the season rolls on, and that each fight reveals something about the character.

“We wanted to marry that authentic Hong Kong [martial arts] style with an American drama, and we couldn’t have done it without these two gentlemen here,” said co-creator Al Gough, referring to Fung and Wu.  

io9 has more on the show, which debuted a teaser at New York Comic Con:

The setting for Into the Badlands takes Hong Kong-influenced martial arts and plops them in lush wetlands and plantation-filled fields in the distant future. (The show is filmed in New Orleans.) It’s set 500 years from now, and it definitely blends visual cues from both Asia and America in a novel way. Meanwhile, everything’s run by barons who outlawed firearms a century prior, in order to prevent an uprising.

The show premieres on November 15.

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