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‘Into the Badlands’: Martial Arts Drama with No Punch

first_imgSo, for the sake of argument, let us join Sunny and go into the Badlands, this post-apocalyptic world with vast meadows of roses. Early on, after effortlessly wiping out about a dozen dudes without breaking a sweat, Sunny rescues M.K. (Aramis Knight), a teenager he finds trapped in a chest. It turns out that M.K. can unlock a mysterious power of ass-kicking whenever he bleeds, making you ponder the consequences if he ever accidentally nicks himself. And so, on top of motorcycle-riding assassins armed with Japanese Samurai swords, we also have magical teenagers.The Badlands are also occupied by the sickly Baron Quinn (Marton Csokas, The Lord of the Rings), his eighth wife-to-be (Sarah Bolger), his jealous wife (Orla Brady), Sunny’s pregnant lover (Madelein Mantock), and primitive boys training to become cold, heartless Clippers–and follow in Sunny’s footsteps. Figuring out their names was less concerning than trying to understand why all this cliché drama littered the background of a show loosely based on “Journey to the West,” a 16th century Chinese novel.It all was so odd yet so familiar…Apparently, there was something about Sunny’s martial arts skills that piqued the interest of the Baron–who decided to put it to “good” use–and will supposedly keep us enthralled in the journey ahead.But after Sunny brings M.K. back with him inside the high-walled doors of The Fort, where Baron Quinn runs his adolescent training camp, the drama within turns silly and mundane, and the more obvious it becomes that Into the Badlands is nothing more than an excuse to watch Daniel Wu flex his well-oiled muscles.And then it hit me. After tons of dull dialogue, the closing shots flashed on-screen with the song, “Lead Me Home,” by Jamie N Commons. The tune turned a knob in my brain, opened a door, and flooded out memories dating back to February 2013.“Lead Me Home” also concluded an episode of The Walking Dead (“Clear”, season three), when the protagonist Rick Grimes parted ways with an unhinged underling, Morgan Jones, for the second time in the series.This is another post-apocalyptic world. Humans coping with everyday drama are simply trying to live their lives in an environment that won’t let them. It’s the same formula with a new skin. Even AMC’s promotional commercials of Sunny’s martial arts abilities had shot-by-shot similarities to Walking Dead’s Michonne, Daryl and Morgan’s katana slicing, kicking, and stick wielding against the oncoming zombies. The cable network labeled its Sunday double-bill, “Twice The Fight.”Was AMC trying to make another Walking Dead out of Into the Badlands? Sure, there were no zombies lumbering through the Badlands’ rose meadows, and the characters were a lot more settled in, but paralleling the two shows explained all the out-of-place drama.Each commercial break started with these words, “Coming up on Into the Badlands,” leaving viewers hanging with a suspenseful action scene, as though AMC knew the risk that many (myself included) might change the channel if their curiosity weren’t aroused. Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for The Walking Dead’s season six premiere in October, so it’s no surprise that AMC hopes to draw those numbers with the five remaining episodes of its new series before the show enters the real badlands of low ratings.And that might prove the match for a prized martial arts champion like Sunny no matter how many necks he snaps.(Photo credit: AMC) Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Following Sunday night’s zombie apocalypse as depicted by the latest episode of The Walking Dead, AMC presented badass martial arts mayhem with its season premiere of Into the Badlands.A lot of strange words with no context were tossed around–Clippers, barons, and the Colts–but swift sidestepping, bone snapping, and karate whooshing distracted the brain and glued the eyes to the screen.At least for a little while.Wearing “cool guy” sunglasses and riding a motorcycle in a blood-red trench coat, Sunny (Daniel Wu) hits the trail to brighten nomadic and hostile gangs’ days by snapping their wrists and impaling them with rusted skewers or wielding his ever shiny katana.Evidently, once upon a time, Sunny was one of the aforementioned Clippers, assassins who “just show up, kill people, and leave.” But beneath all his ink, which records each of his many kills (404 and counting), Sunny is supposedly just a nice guy who made a bad career move. Now he’s about to rewrite his job description, as we shall soon see.last_img read more

SENIORS – Beware of New Social Security Robocall Scam

first_imgFLORIDA – Some South Florida residents who are Social Security beneficiaries have in recent weeks been receiving unexpected robocalls allegedly from the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, the Federal Trade Commission is aggressively warning that this is a scam which has been spreading across the nation, and are urging seniors not to respond to the calls.The scammers target individuals by calling their phone through a robocall and claiming their Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime.Robo messageTypically the rob- call message left is: “This call is from the department of social security administration. The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we just suspend your social security number because we found some suspicious activity. So, if you want to know about this case just press 1 thank you.”In those calls or voicemails, sometimes the scammer wants the individuals called to confirm their SSN, reactivate it or they’ll say their bank account is about to be seized.Preventative stepsThe FTC cautions those receiving these calls whatever the message on the call says not to fall for it. It’s a scam and that’s not the real Social Security Administration calling. The scamis a growing concern for officials, as according to the FTC says so far this year more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, with victims having lost over $10 million.The FTC further cautions anyone who receives these calls should not answer the call, and if they do answer hang up immediately on hearing the message., and never pressed the number 1 as requested. Doing this will indicate to the scammer that they have reached the person their targeting and could open further calls and efforts to scam.One of the main reasons for targeting seniors with this SS scam is that most beneficiaries are very dependent on their monthly SS payment, and maybe quick to respond to the calls if they hear their accounts are being cancelled or their bank account closed.The FTC says be suspicious of any call from a government agency since those agencies don’t call residents with threats or promises or demands for money. Only Scammers do. Don’t trust caller ID – even if it might look like a real call from the SSA, don’t trust it. Never give any caller information like bank account and/or Social Security, and never make a payment. And, always check with the real agency the call is purported to be coming from.The Federal Trade Commission says If you’re worried, hang up and call the SSA yourself at 1-800-772-1213. If you’ve already received one of these robocall Social Security Scams, contact them with a complaint.last_img read more