“How old are you” is not a good question to hear both in the real world and in the fictional world of Heo Myeong-haeng‘s Badland Hunters. It’s a question coming from a mercenary asks Soo-na (Roh Jeong-eui), an 18 year old girl living in post-apocalyptic Seoul. The mercenaries stop making trouble after one of the titular hunters, Nam San (Don Lee) step in, but their troubles may not be over. A teacher comes over to Soo-na’s test in the bus district to give her a spot in The Apartment.
Soo-na reluctantly say yes, bringing her grandmother with her. But Nam San and his sidekick, Choi Ji-wan (Lee Jun-young) smell more trouble. Following Soo-na and the teacher, they run into a zombified man. They also run into a woman, Lee Eun-ho (Ahn Ji-hye) who kills the zombie. Both she and the film explain the presence of a mad scientist leader, Yang Gi-su (Lee Hee-jun). Gi-su, by the way, runs a the lottery system that involves the young people within The Apartment. The scenes taking place in The Apartment shows that, duh, is more of an apartment complex really. And it shows some competent social commentary that viewers normally find in genre films.
The Apartments’ older residents, though, are staring to notice that Gi-su is trying to separate families. But thankfully, Eun-ho’s expository monologue means that the titular characters in Badland Hunters know what’s going on and what ass kicking they have to offer. At least they do so before The Apartment’s older residents do. The plot reveals basically help incorporate the film’s action-aspects. Knowing what they know, the hunters stab their way through the building to rescue The Apartment’s inhabitants from Gi-su.
Badland Hunters reinforces Don Lee or Ma Dong-seok’s position as an action star. There’s a lack of ego about him when he’s on camera, his stoicism commanding power of a man who strategizes and hits only when necessary. His presence is memorable even if swaths of the film don’t focus on his character’s and shifts on Soo=na’s instead. In turn, Roh is commendable in not letting Soo-na seem damsel-y.
Equally, I find it interesting in a good way that Netflix is furthering its investment both on South Korean films and miniseries. We all know why they’re doing it, and they’re not gonna have a perfect batting average. But they’re lucky that Badland Hunters is good. Good may be pushing it since a lot of the film makes no sense. But there’s competence in the filming of the action scenes, and we’re all here to watch gnarly death scenes, aren’t we?
Watch Badland Hunters on Netflix.