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Lee’s New Action Sequence ‘Badland hunters’

actor ma dong seok in badland hunters

Don Lee, widely known as Ma Dong-seok, has carved his niche as a sought-after action star in Korea, riding high on the success of “The Roundup” film series. Following the triumph of “The Roundup: No Way Out,”

Lee recently graced Netflix with another adrenaline-packed offering, “Badland Hunters,” aiming to captivate global audiences with its action-packed entertainment.

 a still from badland hunters staring dong lee
Ma Dong-seok as the lead character in new Netflix film “Badland Hunters.” Courtesy of Netflix

Released on Jan. 26, the film has already soared to the top of Netflix’s non-English films streaming chart, accumulating an impressive 26 million viewing hours. However, not everyone is on board with the film’s narrative choices, prompting a diverse range of reviews.

Plot Overview

Set in a post-apocalyptic Seoul, “Badland Hunters” revolves around former boxer Nam San, portrayed by Ma Dong-seok, navigating a city transformed into a wasteland by a catastrophic earthquake. Paired with teenaged sidekick Choi Ji-wan, played by Lee Joon-young, Nam San leaps into action when a mad scientist abducts another teenage neighbor, Han Su-na, portrayed by No Jeong-ee.

Directorial Debut

The film marks the directorial debut of Heo Myeong-haeng, previously a stunt director for “The Roundup” series and the 2022 film “Hunt.” Don Lee expressed great faith in Heo’s unconventional approach, praising his ability to tailor action sequences to each character’s personality. The actor believes Heo’s directorial debut was a significant milestone and an opportunity to showcase his unique style.

Game-Like Action

In an exclusive interview, Don Lee shared insights into the film’s development, emphasizing his intention to create an action-centric entertainment flick rather than a heavily story-driven narrative.

He admitted to deliberately trimming down character backstories to maintain a brisk pace and focus on the film’s action elements. Lee drew inspiration from his love for games, mentioning his ongoing work on an action game, highlighting the need for movies that provide an immersive and enjoyable experience akin to gaming.

Audience Division and Actor’s Perspective

Despite “Badland Hunters” receiving acclaim for its cathartic and dynamic action sequences, it faced criticism for its weak plot and character backgrounds. Ma Dong-seok, however, remains unfazed by the mixed reviews, acknowledging that audience preferences vary.

The actor emphasized his commitment to giving his best in every project, acknowledging the unpredictability of audience reactions. He cited his previous film, “Men of Plastic,” which resonated strongly with a specific audience but struggled at the box office.

Balancing Action and Narrative

Addressing the choice to prioritize action over a complex narrative, Lee explained that the original script contained extensive character stories. However, recognizing the constraints of creating a three to four-hour-long action film, the team opted for brevity to craft a game-like experience.

While recognizing the importance of narrative in action films, Lee believes there’s room for diverse offerings, catering to those who appreciate strong storytelling and those who seek pure, entertaining action.

 a still from badland hunters staring dong lee
A still from movie “, “Badland Hunter” courtesy Netflix

“Badland Hunters” may have divided opinions, but its success on Netflix’s streaming chart showcases the widespread appeal of Ma Dong-seok’s action-packed charisma.

Whether it’s the thrill of the post-apocalyptic wasteland or the heart-pounding action sequences, this Netflix movie stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of entertainment, where storytelling and immersive experiences coexist to cater to varied audience preferences.

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