If you’re looking for a popcorn action film, then Badland Hunters is the perfect weekend watch. This is one of those leave your brain behind and enjoy the ride kind of films that solely focuses on the action and the fun rather than wasting any time on the characters. No, really, I didn’t even catch all the names, and there’s no time to get emotional because the film keeps us at more than arm’s length from the characters. Badland Hunters is set 3 years after the events of Concrete Utopia, where a devastating earthquake (much like in 2012) destroyed the planet and stole Thanos’ dream job, eliminating half of the planet, or at least, South Korea. In Concrete Utopia, we follow the story of the residents of an apartment building, which is the only one left standing after the earthquake. A miracle building, if you will, the film focuses solely on human relations after a disaster hits, keeping aside the basic survival tasks. On the other hand, Badland Hunters leaves everything in the dumpster and has an overarching story simply for the sake of having one, because its main focus is Nam-San’s brutality. Jokes aside, let me try and recap the film to the best of my abilities.
What Happens In The Film?
Nam-San leads a group of survivors in an area called the “Bus District.” He and his right-hand man, a young adult called Ji-Wan, look after the people, young and old, in this hamlet. The film begins with Ji-Wan trying to hunt a crocodile for meat for the village. He almost gets eaten alive by the croc before Nam-San saves him and hacks off the head of the beast. It seems young people are hard to find these days, and Nam-San looks after a couple of the few left in Seoul: Ji-Wan and a girl named Su-Na. One day, a bunch of bandits arrive at the village and create a scene, hurting some of the people there, claiming they are the police, and that they’re after somebody. Nam-San only interferes when they’re hurting some of his “townspeople” and beats the crap out of the “police” bandits. They are specifically trying to drag Su-Na away because she’s a young one and they aren’t seen very often anymore. Fortunately, Nam-San is able to save her from them.
Soon after, a bunch of “teachers” come to the area, claiming they have a guarded community where there’s fresh water, and kids like Su-Na are taken there for safety. Su-Na finds them to be trustworthy, and somehow Nam-San agrees because people like the bandits will keep coming back to grab her. Su-Na and her elderly grandmother set off on a journey to join the guarded community, but something eerie is about to happen. On the other hand, we learn that Nam-San lost a daughter who looked very much like Su-Na, and Ji-Wan wonders why he let her go.
On the journey to the safe haven, the elderly are taken off to a “treatment” facility, whereas those who are young and healthy are taken to the apartment building by car. Su-Na doesn’t like the fact that she’s separated from her grandmother, but she follows the instructions given to her. Along with her is another 18-year-old named Ju-Ye, who is the complete opposite of Su-Na, who is stoic and calm. Unfortunately, as we suspected (duh), the apartment group killed off the elderly because they’re “of no use” for the new order. While Ju-Wan doesn’t make it in time to save Su-Na’s grandmother, he does end up witnessing a man kill her and begins a ruthless fight with him. He’s not strong enough to handle the man, and the guy has a partner too; however, Nam-San makes it in time to save Ji-Wan. Obviously, these people are not ordinary humans; they’re half-lizard people (where’s Spidey when we need him?). Nam-San decapitates them, and since they’ve realized there’s something fishy, they bury Grandma and go on a rescue mission to find Su-Na.
What Happens To Su-Na In The Apartment Building?
The apartment building is the only standing apartment building in Seoul, the same one in “Concrete Utopia.” At the end of that film, some water was found after many months of nothing. Now, the people in the apartment have monopolized the water. There’s some special treatment that they do to the water that is given only to the kids. Somehow Su-Na has the common sense to know that there’s something strange about how there’s so much water there while there are people dying with no water elsewhere. Additionally, nobody tells her where her grandma is, and she starts to worry. Su-Na is given a school uniform and taken to the 8th floor, where all the kids are educated. She realizes there’s something really odd about all the other kids, who are like clones or robots. She hasn’t taken a sip of her water, and before she can stop her friend, she’s already drunk the water.
Yang Gi-Su is the doctor in the apartment. He’s the leader of the group as a healer and miracle worker. At the beginning of the movie, we see that before the earthquake, he tried to save his dying daughter with some sort of green substance that he extracted from reptiles (ew, but also Dr. Connors and he would get along). The earthquake had destroyed everything, and Yang somehow managed to save a “piece” of his daughter and the green substance, which he had also injected into himself. This substance kept him alive, which explains why those men didn’t die easily. Yang managed to show up at the apartment, where there was a military operation to provide clean water and shelter for survivors. This is after the events of Concrete Utopia, where all hell broke loose by the end and the outsiders pushed their way into the apartment.
Yang is highly regarded as the only doctor in the area, and so everyone believes everything he says. He starts to convert all the military personnel into lizard-people and creates his own army with them. Of course, he’s pretending his medicine is like an antidote to dying in a dystopian world—the vaccine for a disaster like an earthquake—so everyone listens to him. At the same time, Yang requires the young to conduct his experiments because something in their pituitary gland is required to create this green liquid of his.
Who Is Eun-Ho?
On the other hand, when Nam-San and Ji-Wan are trying to find their way to Su-Na, they meet a woman named Eun-Ho, who used to be a part of the special ops from the apartment building, when she realized that Yang was conducting human experiments on children. When he showed her the reality of how it makes humans almost immortal, she quickly got away to find someone to help her take the place down. Eun-Ho knew Nam-San would be her guy, what with the news of his brute strength traveling across the city. Nam-San agrees to join her, but he only cares to find Su-Na; he’s one of those no-nonsense guys, you know?
Are They Able To Save Su-Na?
The new team makes it into the apartment building after Nam-San drives a truck straight into the ground floor of the place. On the other hand, Ju-Ye’s parents are desperate to see her, and Yang promises he’ll let them. He takes them to his experiment room, and Ju-Ye is connected to a bunch of wires from her brain. The parents start to freak out and touch the girl, even after Yang warns them not to stimulate her in any way. Yang shows them his daughter, who is now a bust with a beating heart, claiming that he kept her alive despite everyone telling him that he couldn’t do it. Sir, she ain’t alive; she’s a display piece. The parents freak out, and Ju-Ye ends up dying on the table because of their touching and screaming. Su-Na witnesses all of this, and Yang catches her, putting her on the table and seating her. Unfortunately for him, she is a smart one, and since she hadn’t had the water, her pituitary gland’s secretion was not rightly changed and this is what Yang injected into himself (good on him).
Nam-San and his team arrive at the lab, and since Su-Na hasn’t had water, she’s able to wake up much sooner than the other kids, and Yang realizes there’s something wrong with him. Soon after, he burns down the lab and tries to escape with his daughter (the litle that’s left of her) in a suitcase. All the parents with their children missing (all those who died in the experiment) realize that Yang is the problem and start to attack him physically. They start to beat him up as Nam-San and the team save Su-Na and escape from the fire. All of Yang’s green serum is destroyed, and ultimately, he becomes furious, picks up a gun, and starts shooting at everyone who was kicking him. Ironically, he ends up shooting at the suitcase, and the liquid that was keeping his daughter alive drains out from the box; he’s even managed to get some shots in her (yikes). Yang tries to justify his work and calls everyone else evil, claiming he’ll kill them all, but Nam-San ends up killing him and shutting him up for good. After months of dry weather, it finally rains in the city and washes away all the nonsense Yang created.
Is It Connected To ‘Concrete Utopia’?
The apartment that survived in Concrete Utopia is the same one that is used as the headquarters in Badland Hunters. We see how much it has changed since the previous movie, after everyone tried to enter the place after the facade of safety was removed. With the military taking over, it would’ve actually been a safe haven until Yang showed up. Apart from this, we can also say that Su-Na is similar to Hye-Won from “Concrete Utopia,” both stoic and smart teenage girls who know what’s really happening. Apart from that, they’re completely different movies and are simply set in the same universe. At the end of Badland Hunters, Nam-San returns to his little village with his two kids (you know it’s true) and lives happily ever after, you know, before he’s attacked by another earthquake or hit on by a woman.