BADLAND HUNTERS on Netflix is a new post-apocalyptic action thriller from South Korea (org. title: Hwang-ya). It’s good entertainment, but not a fantastic movie. Read our full Badland Hunters movie review here!

BADLAND HUNTERS is a new Netflix movie from South Korea (org. title: Hwang-ya). It’s a post-apocalyptic action thriller in the vein of movies like Mad Max and Project Wolf Hunting.

In other words, there is a lot of brutal violence that takes place as people are ready to do whatever it takes to survive. Some just enjoy hurting others in the process, which always makes for good villains. We do get great heroes as well.

Continue reading our Badland Hunters movie review below. Find it on Netflix from January 26, 2024.

A touch of Peninsula 

With Badland Hunters being set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a cataclysmic earthquake, it does have a touch of Peninsula to it. You know, the sequel to the South Korean zombie movie mega-hit Train to Busan.

While there are no zombies in Badland Hunters, there are other human-based creatures that are just as difficult to fight. Also, the story plays out three years after the post-apocalyptic event. In Peninsula, it’s four years later.

As already revealed in the opening scene of Badland Hunters – where the disastrous earthquake is shown – reptiles are used for this new version of human beings.

Just like with Peninsula, the setting of this action-packed thriller is a very dystopian landscape. That’s why it also bears a resemblance to the world of Mad Max while the Project Wolf Hunting comparison has more to do with its brutal violence!

Badland Hunters – Review | Netflix Post-apocalyptic Thriller

Room for a touch of comedy

As it’s classic for South Korean genre productions, there’s room for a touch of comedy as we get to know the characters. Also, when the bad guys get the beating they’ve clearly been deserving for a long time.

Our main hero in Badland Hunters, and one of the title characters, is portrayed by acclaimed Korean action star, Don Lee. He’s known for his role in Marvel’s Eternals. Also, genre fans should know him from Train to Busan.

He is one awesome fighter, who is also presented as a former boxer in this movie. And, well, it shows. He knows how to throw a punch and you can easily believe that it would knock the lights out for anyone.

For good measure, I want to mention that Don Lee is also known as Ma Dong-seok, which is his listed name on IMDb. In his Netflix debut, Lee plays Nam-san. A skilled huntsman and defender of his little makeshift village.

South Korean ensemble cast

Another key actor in the impressive ensemble cast of Badland Hunters is Lee Jun-young (Mask Girl) as Choi Ji-wan, Nam-san’s reliable ally. Their banter also makes for some necessary lighter moments in this brutal action-thriller.

Also, we get Ahn Ji-hye (Project Wolf Hunting) as a badass woman who uses both her wits and fighting skills to make it in this post-apocalyptic badland. And Kim Young-sun (I Saw the Devil) plays a smaller key role in the movie.

Finally, as the actual villain of this story, we see Lee Hee-jun (Yellow Sea) as the mysterious doctor, Yang Gi-su. He wants to do good – in his own way – but will sacrifice anyone to get there. Except for his own daughter.

Watch Badland Hunters on Netflix now!

Heo Myeong-haeng is the director of Badland Hunters and has a great eye for action choreography and creating nail-biting tension. This is his debut as a director, as he has worked as an actor and stunt coordinator in the past.

Already, Heo Myeong-haeng has a second movie completed and slated for release in 2024 with The Roundup: Punishment. That one will also have Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee) in the cast.

The runtime for this movie is 1 hour and 47 minutes which is fairly short for a South Korean movie. While Badland Hunters makes for good entertainment, it’s not a fantastic movie.

The screenplay for Badland Hunters comes from Kim Bo-Tong and Kwak Jae-Min, who deliver on character-building. These writers also seem fairly new to filmmaking from what I can gather.

The movie feels a bit like the beginning of a TV series before it’s suddenly over. I enjoyed getting to know the characters – including their well-defined backstories and motivations – which is why I could’ve seen this go longer.

Badland Hunters (org. title: Hwang-ya) premieres on Netflix on January 26, 2024.

Details

Director: Heo Myeong-haeng
Screenwriters: Kim Bo-tong, Kwak Jae-min
Cast: Don Lee, Lee Hee-jun, Lee Jun-young, Roh Jeong-eui, An Ji-hye

Plot

Years after Seoul turns into an apocalyptic wasteland, a tough huntsman takes matters into his own hands when a teenager he’s close to is abducted by a mad doctor who conducts experiments on humans.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard