Badland Hunters delves into the dark mind of a mad doctor who captures a teen lead for his dangerous mission, followed by rescuers Nam-san and Ji-wan, who risk their lives for their quest.
A still from Badland Hunters
Badland Hunters Story
Starring Ma Dong-seok, Lee Hee-joon, Lee Jun-young, and Roh Jeong-eui, Badland Hunters is a sequel to the highly acclaimed 2023 film Concrete Utopia. It follows a dystopic world that shakes up lives after a drastic earthquake. Nearly three years later, in the apocalyptic wasteland of Seoul, Nam San and his younger helping hand, Ji-wan, hunt creatures to feed the remaining survivalists. The story also delves into the dark mind of a mad doctor who captures the teen lead for his dangerous mission, followed by rescuers Nam-san and Ji-wan risking their lives over their quest.
Badland Hunters Review
The tale of survival and humanity takes place in the city ruins of Seoul after the shattering earthquake and weighs on the action sequences but lacks complexity or a structured storyline. It revolves around the formulaic villain and his inhumane and deadly quests that threaten to trade lives for his ulterior motives. Stuntman-turned-director Heo Myung-haeng makes a striking debut with this dystopic sequel but the lack of character development and loosely packed storyline dim the shine of his first directorial, despite the stellar cast.
The characters, whether they be the god-complex doctor (Lee Hee-joon) or his evil minions soldiers, appear to have drawn inspiration from a Hollywood film that threatens to upend humanity due to the cruel and inhuman scientific experiments on humans. One of the key features of Badland Hunters is the use of ideal set props and impeccable makeup skills to accentuate the rippling effects of a badland or apocalyptic world.
With the visual effects like the blood fountain amid slashing the evil pawns, the makers ensured to add a gory flavour as they upscaled resources to compete with the massive budget films in the action territory. Another feature that weighs upon the loose screenplay is the action choreography, especially the climax scene when Nam-san and Ji-won, along with Eun-ho, ward off the zombie-like creatures in the epic battle.
The use of drought and rain in the climax scene is a major highlight that depicts nature’s way of dealing with humankind.
Badland Hunters loses its edge over the roughly written characters like the survivalists, who don't have any impressive backstory, nor were they explored in terms of humanity, power, or survival struggle except for the portrayal of drought. Action prowess Don Lee, aka Ma Dong-seok (Train to Busan fame), enamours viewers as usual with his signature fighting style. His machete scenes were highly structured and highlighted meticulous special effects as he violently fought alligator-like creatures.
Badland Hunters Verdict
An indirect sequel to one of Korea’s highly lauded action films, Um Rae-hwa's Concrete Utopia, ‘Badland Hunters' falls off the cliff of expectations, but the zombie actioner is still an entertaining watch that will keep you hooked due to the gory violence and the predictable end of the mad doctor. The expected storyline overshadows the meticulous action scenes, but the magnificent screen presence of Don Lee is a big plus.
Badland Hunters is currently streaming on Netflix.