Blogs

‘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

Westminster drives BID to clean up city

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Sovcomflot withdraws Vyacheslav Tikhonov redelivery with Polarcus

first_imgRussian company, Sovcomflot, has withdrawn redelivery notice for Vyacheslav Tikhonov seismic vessel with Polarcus. The vessel, originally named Polarcus Selma, has been on a long-term charter with Sovcomflot since delivery from the yard in 2011. The Vyacheslav Tikhonov is a high ice class 8 streamer vessel suited for 3D XArray exploration requiring cable separations of 160 to 200 meters. It was built to the Ulstein SX133 design and incorporated the Ulstein X-Bow hull. Polarcus will not receive charter hire from 31 May 2020 until startup of a new project anticipated to start in Q3 2020. In December of last year the companies agreed to postpone the redelivery of the vessel until the completion of work which Sovcomflot secured in Asia. The redelivery was expected in Q2 2020, but Sovcomflot decided to withdraw notice of redelivery in light of further project opportunities, after it completed the project in Asia. Redelivery of the vessel is now expected to be following completion of the new project, or alternatively, on short notice if no project is awarded for the vessel in the summer season, the company noted. last_img read more

Allardyce hits back at Senegal

first_img Sakho’s appearance for West Ham infuriated many inside the Senegal camp, with Alain Giresse’s side crashing out at the group stage following Tuesday’s defeat to Algeria. The former Metz striker came in for criticism from fans on Twitter and Giresse also questioned how Sakho could possibly have been deemed fit enough to turn out for West Ham. But Allardyce defended the decision after the win at Ashton Gate, revealing Sakho travelled by limousine instead of with the rest of the squad and insists he does not expect his top goalscorer to be banned until the end of the African Cup of Nations, as has been suggested. “I’m not worried at all he could be facing a ban whatsoever,” he said. “We’ve stuck to every rule and regulation in the book by the FA, by FIFA and by UEFA. We have not breached any rules and regulations whatsoever and I have to say I’m extremely disappointed by Senegal’s reaction. “He (Sakho) is coping fine because he has got enough to burn his bridges with, they (Senegal) are falling out with us. “If anything we should be falling out with them but we are not, we are keeping it at a very professional level, like we always do and like I said we have done everything in the rules to comply with what is happening.” Allardyce also confirmed Sakho will travel to Anfield for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League encounter against Liverpool in the same manner he made the trip to Bristol, but his compatriot Kouyate may not be available for selection against the Reds following a late return. The Hammers striker came off the bench to score the only goal in their FA Cup fourth-round victory over Bristol City on Sunday, despite having been ruled out of Senegal’s African Cup of Nations squad with a back injury. And the relationship between club and country could also be soured further after Allardyce said he had struggled to communicate with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate about his return to east London. The midfielder had linked up with Senegal but Allardyce and West Ham had struggled to contact the former Anderlecht man and arrange his journey home – with Kouyate now expected back later on Thursday. “The other player that we had available has been difficult to find over the last 48 hours,” Allardyce continued. “We know where he is but we have had trouble finding him. If you speak to other managers in the Premier League, if they are honest like I am they will tell you the same story. “We are expecting him back today after chasing him down for the last 48 hours. He could play against Liverpool.” Allardyce played down reports linking both Sakho and fellow summer recruit Enner Valencia with a move to London rivals Chelsea and insists he will not be looking to bring in any other forwards during the January transfer window. “By email, text or phone? How have they sounded us out?,” the 60-year-old replied when asked about reported contact from Chelsea. “The only way it has been sounded out is through the media, certainly not through club to club.” “With us having Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Carlton Cole and Enner Valencia we have more than enough front men to cope with the demand for the rest of the season. In the summer we’ll reassess our aims and the squad but for now we’re fine with the four options we’ve got.” Although a new striker may not be on his shopping list, Allardyce again said he would like to complete a move for Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher. The 30-year-old Scot has been told he can leave Old Trafford on a free transfer and Allardyce remains interested, whilst also confirming a deal is close for Hamilton full-back Stephen Hendrie – although he would not link up with West Ham until the summer. “It is still a possibility. It’s not dead yet, so it still could happen,” Allardyce said of a move for Fletcher. “You have to be patient sometimes. We’re not desperate, as we’ve got several good options in midfield but we want to add to that if we can.” Press Association Sam Allardyce has continued a bitter war of words with Senegal football officials and insists West Ham did nothing wrong in playing Diafra Sakho last weekend.last_img read more

Wenger not worried about Walcott

first_img Walcott missed the best part of a year following a knee injury which wrecked his 2014 World Cup dream, and since then has seen his return hampered by a niggling inflamed groin problem. The 26-year-old has found himself on the fringes of the Arsenal side in recent weeks, often used as an impact player from the bench. Asked if he felt the fallout from his performance with England could hamper his confidence, Wenger replied: “Theo wants to do well, he is sensitive and I am a bit concerned about the damage that (Italy) game can have on his mind.” The Arsenal boss continued: “Theo’s strength is the quality of his movements, he wants to go to get on the end of things, he is not a guy who provides. “It was complicated game for the (England) strikers because Italy defended with three centre-backs, two players in front of the two centre-backs and England played all in there so there was no room, no space. “I don’t think it was the intention of Roy Hodgson to play him there (as a number 10). It is maybe Rooney took the initiative during the game to play higher up and tell Theo to drop back. “I haven’t seen Roy Hodgson in the game standing up to say ‘Walcott, you come and play in midfield and Rooney you go up front’. That is an initiative they took on the pitch.” Wenger, though, has no doubts Walcott will soon be up to full speed once again. “Theo is not fragile mentally, he is strong mentally, but he is disappointed because when you come back you always think you are ready,” added the Arsenal boss, who hopes to extend the player’s contract. “I don’t worry about Theo because he is not completely there yet and I told you that a few times he has been out for a year with a very bad injury and he is coming back.” While he may have full belief in Walcott’s abilities, Wenger concedes players can suffer from a crisis in confidence. “Being exposed like that (to the media spotlight with England), people have a harsh judgement on him that is not deserved because he does well. For me, he is on course to come back, but he is not completely there,” the Arsenal manager continued. “Theo needs patience, he is at the moment not in his best mood. “He is not a fragile type. He has big confidence in himself and he has gone through some difficult periods in his life and he has always come out with strength. “At the moment he is frustrated, but that is normal.” Wenger expects Walcott to bounce back quickly, and could throw him straight into the side against Liverpool on Saturday. “I think he is strong enough. I will see what state of mind he is in,” said the Gunners boss. “We always have a word, if it is a positive experience or a negative experience, you ask how did it go. We always speak about the last game.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes Theo Walcott’s frustrating night with England in Turin will not leave the forward’s confidence “damaged” over the closing weeks of the season. Press Association Walcott produced a low key display after being handed an opportunity to start up front with Roy Hodgson’s side for the friendly in Turin on Tuesday night. After struggling to receive any real quality service, Walcott later dropped back into the number 10 role behind captain Wayne Rooney and eventually was substituted by Everton’s Ross Barkley early in the second half. last_img read more