Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Into The Badlands Looks Like a Post-Apocalyptic, Kung Fu, Western and That's a Beautiful Thing.

I've seen quite a few adaptations of Journey to the West, aka Monkey, in my day. Most of these adaptations fail to capture the wonder I experienced when I first encountered Sun Wukong in Ron Lim's excellent comic book Dragon Lines. It wasn't until Steven Chow's wild and imaginative Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons that I saw a filmic version of the tale that approached what I had always wanted to see. I've yet to see a Western adaptation that properly captures the heroism and whimsy of Sun Wukong. While I appreciated Jackie Chan's and Jet Li's performances as manifestations of Monkey in The Forbidden Kingdom, the film itself focused too much on the wandering Westerner and not enough on Monkey. I've been pretty skeptical of Hollywood's ability to bring this character to screen as the rightful protagonist of a tale.

It looks like AMC might just change my assessment. AMC released a preview trailer for their upcoming series Into the Badlands which is based on the classic tale of heroism and wonder, and I'm really impressed. Yes, it's a Western version of the tale, but it is also a "Western" version of the tale. I'll still go in skeptical, but this show looks like a lot of fun and Daniel Wu's performance as "Sunny" looks great. I was never able to see my much wished for version of the tale with Dennis Dun as Monkey, but Daniel Wu brings a wonderful charisma to the screen.

The cinematography of the trailer hints at the influence of Wong Kar Wai and Ronny Yu, and that is a very good thing.

I can't wait to adapt this to Feng Shui, Chris Pramas' Dragon Fist RPG, or Savage Worlds.

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