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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

Warwickshire in talks to join £9bn East Riding LGPS pool​

first_imgIn a report to Warwickshire’s investment sub-committee, treasury and pension fund manager Mathew Dawson argued in favour of closer cooperation with the three funds, as Warwickshire would have a “strong voice” in the management of the proposed pool.Dawson added that the partnership had shown an understanding of Warwickshire’s existing asset allocation, “particularly in the alternatives space”, citing its current approach to private equity and hedge funds.As of March 2015, Warwickshire had £79.7m, or 4.9% of assets, invested in a Blackstone Group-managed hedge fund mandate, and a further £31.1m of an agreed £60m private equity mandate invested with HarbourVest.Dawson noted that Warwickshire agreed to submit a joint response with the three funds after John Appleton, local councillor and chair of the investment sub-committee, met with his counterpart at Surrey County Council, two days after the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) outlined criteria for asset pools.The joint response, due to be submitted to DCLG by 19 February, marks the first step in proposed asset pools gaining government approval.However, Dawson told IPE that, despite the joint submission, Warwickshire would continue talking to other potential asset pools.He stressed that the committee had, for now, only signed off a joint submission for the February consultation but not for the final consultation due next July.Warwickshire was one of two funds previously involved in a £6.5bn joint procurement exercise for passive equity and fixed income not to join the West Midlands pool.The second fund, the £3.1bn Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund, told IPE it was still discussing which pooling arrangement to pursue.A spokeswoman said its pensions committee would consider the available options in late January, allowing it to submit its initial proposal for the mid-February deadline set by DCLG.She added: “Until any decision has been made, we cannot comment further.” Warwickshire’s local authority fund may join the £9bn (€12.3bn) asset pool backed by East Riding, Surrey and Cumbria after deciding the partnership best understood its approach to alternatives.The £1.6bn local government pension scheme (LGPS) said it also met with West Midlands Pension Fund about joining its asset pool, which has attracted the backing of eight funds to date, worth an estimated £35bn.However, Warwickshire opted for the partnership with East Riding as the “most appropriate” solution currently availableIt has agreed to a joint submission with the three participating funds to make the case for the asset pool, now boosted to £10.5bn.last_img read more

Albion sugar workers call on Govt to deliver on campaign promises

first_imgWorkers attached to the Albion Sugar Factory on Thursday took to the streets to protest against the absence of a wage increase since the coalition Government took office.The workers were last given a wage increase in 2014 and as such, they are calling on the Government to deliver on its campaign promises.Stephen Indertatt, a representative of the Albion Estate fertilising gang, said during the coalition Government’s campaign programme, the nation was told that should they win the elections, sugar workers will benefit from a 20 per cent wage hike.He said although receiving nothing for the past three years, they are demanding aSugar workers at the Albion Sugar Estate on Thursday15 per cent wage hike for 2018.“Presently sugar workers are in dire need of increased wages. We need the Administration that is in power to intervene because they had promised us 20 per cent… They left us with zero.”Indertatt, who was part of Thursday’s protest action outside the Estate’s administration block, said Government has indicated its intention to increase the wages for other workers but has said nothing about them.He said Government is treating sugar workers like dogs, while they continue to give full support to the productive sector.Thursday’s strike attracted saw almost 100 per cent of harvesters and more than 75 per cent of factory workers.The strike also got support from the cultivation, mechanical tillage department and the field workshop. Workers from the central field workshop also took part in the strike on Thursday.“When [the Guyana Sugar Corporation] GuySuCo heard about this strike they were very upset. They say that we did it at Blairmont and that was okay but at Albion which a bigger estate that produces about 21,000 tonnes of sugar per week, we cannot afford to allow them to strike. So they invited us to a meeting on Wednesday,” the Union representative stated.He said the Union will attend the meeting. “We are hoping that they can come to the table with something to offer because these will do what it takes to ensure that they have something,” Tambron added.He explained that the workers have indicated to the union that they had enough and the union is finding it very difficult to hold them back from protesting.GuySuCo, he said, is setting the stage to show that the sugar industry is a failure as they did that at Rose Hall. The factory can grind but what they did is to allow the field to become overgrown.last_img read more