Badland Hunters: South Korea Show Us Again How Action Is Done

Netflix has finally released the highly anticipated Ma Dong-seok action film Badland Hunters – and it was WAY better than I could ever have hoped for

Ma Dong-seok is back, doing what he does best: smashing heads. Only in Badland Hunters – his weaponry goes way beyond his trademarked pulverising fists of justice —this time, his weapons of choice: the shotgun + machete. And I have to say, this has some of the best shotgun gun kills in recent film history. The last time I felt such force from a cinematic shotgun was in Pascal Laugier’s, Martyrs (2008). Badland Hunters takes the shotgun ultra-violence to the next level and the results are mesmerising. The machete violence is hard-hitting too, both of which are done with the highest standard of special FX.

Set 3 years after a devastating earthquake left South Korea an apocalyptic wasteland. Survivors led by the Big Man must fight for survival in a new world where death comes in many forms and is never too far away.

I had a giggle to myself when we got introduced to Dong-seok’s character for the first time. He hand wrestles a giant alligator before proceeding to chop off its head with his custom serrated machete. If this had been any other actor on the planet then it would not have been believable.

There were a few times I was thinking to myself, this film doesn’t know what the Hell it wants to be. It throws just about every genre at you…and you know something? it works. We even have elements of (spoilers)…reptilian super soldier zombie horror – could I have guessed that when I heard about a sequel to Concrete Utopia? That would be a nope.

I find it very strange that Netflix has not announced that they are buying Concrete Utopia. Yes, you can watch Badland Hunters as a standalone movie but there are references to the film.

For those of you who don’t know, Concrete Utopia is set directly after an earthquake reduces Seoul to a pile of rubble and ash. The only building that was left standing was an apartment complex. The film dealt with the residents trying to keep people out and also the new law that has been formed to keep order with the people.

When I reviewed Concrete Utopia, I mentioned I wanted to know what it was like outside of the apartment complex. There was talk of lawless gangs, rapists, murderers and cannibals. It was never confirmed in the movie though which I also thought was quite clever as it made you think, was this happening outside? or was it a new form of propaganda to keep the citizens in line? Badland Hunters have answered all of those questions and thrown in plots I could never have guessed coming. I loved every second of it.

The fight choreography was astonishing. For such a big guy, Ma Dong-seok can move. However, I think the best fighting came from Ahn Ji-hye who showed tremendous talent in hand-to-hand combat. As always, there was one thing that didn’t sit right with me and that was the comedy. I mean, it didn’t spoil the film but we had a bleak and violent story with a body count higher than all the Rambo movies put together. It just seemed pointless and took away (ever so slightly) from the dystopian, violent tone of the film.

Badland Hunters is directed by Heo Myeong Haeng with a screenplay co-written by Kim Bo-Tong and Kwak Jae-Min. Produced by Seung-min Byun.

You can now check it out on Netflix. Check back soon for more news, reviews and TV and movie lists. As always, thanks for reading.


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