The quest for eternal life is the plot of many stories, and Badland Hunters is the latest addition to join the list. The movie is as fun as the doctor is unhinged in finding the cure to keep people alive beyond natural means. Yang Gi Su started looking for a cure to bring his daughter back to life, and in the process, he ended up taking the lives of many others. Yang Gi Su had long turned into a madman, and nothing mattered to him more than his daughter.
Before the earthquake, he said that he had perfected the formula and just needed to inject his daughter with it. This was the formula that gave people the ability to regenerate and go for days without food, water, or any other sustenance. A careful guess would be that this was not what Yang Gi Su was aiming for. He wanted to bring the dead back to life, and that was a completely different ball game. However, Gi Su’s invention did not go to waste. In the new world, this was the key to helping him find a place to continue his experiments. Gi Su needed more teenagers because, in his words, it was something produced in their pituitary gland that was the key to whatever he was trying to make. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Gi Su found the apartments where people were in desperate need of a doctor. He set up shop, but he needed the military personnel’s help to continue with what he was doing. Luckily, he found that those people were just as greedy and unhinged as he had hoped for, and he bribed them with his elixir in exchange for getting him what he wanted. Hence, the apartments became the kind of place that they did. The officers needed Gi Su to keep supplying them with the elixir, and in return, they provided him with the children he needed for his experiments. Everyone was operating based on their selfish interests and not in the interest of the community at all. The story of Badland Hunters took place three years after the earthquake. Three years was a good amount of time for the officers and Gi Su to perfect their system. This is perhaps why they needed the teacher to help them out.
The teacher had cancer or some other sickness that was life-threatening, and that is why she was helping the doctor in hopes of getting the elixir that would cure her and give her a long life like the others. But when he left her behind to die, the doctor told her that his experiment could not have saved her. This leads us to the conclusion that maybe the elixir did not work on bodies that were sick or dying. It only worked on healthy bodies to make them stronger. This could be why the doctor had not yet been able to revive his daughter. The point is that the doctor made use of the teacher’s desperation because they needed someone who was good at handling people without scaring them off. The children wouldn’t come to the camps without their families, and the soldiers never bothered with the diplomacy or story-building required to get them there, without which there was sure to be rebellion. The teacher’s job was to prevent that.
Another way the doctor ensured that no one meddled with his job was by making sure that the apartments had resources that everyone else needed, especially water. The presence of these not only gave them credibility but also ensured that they had a bargaining chip to use with the parents and the other gangs to get as many children as they could. The gangs wouldn’t ask questions as to why the apartments needed children or what they would do with them. If required, they may have also been used for the occasional dirty work, like disposing of dead bodies or scavenging the necessary equipment for the experiments. One reason why Yang Gi Su wanted to be worshipped was because it added to the brainwashing aspect of his experiments. To keep the children and their parents around, he needed to paint himself as a messiah who held the key to the future and did not owe any explanation to others. Painting himself as ordinary would have made him accessible, and Yang Gi Su did not care to answer the questions that the parents would ask.
In the midst of all this, a scientific arrogance had crept into Yang Gi Su. Yang Gi Su had broken new ground in the field of medicine, and if this were the world before the earthquake, he would have won a Nobel Prize after his crimes were hidden away by the government due to the potential of his invention. In his daughter’s lifeless body, her heart was still beating. That was a marvel in itself. Who is to say that, with time, Yang Gi Su wouldn’t have found a way to bring the dead back to life?
But Gi Su did not realize how far people would go for the ones they loved, especially in a world where there was nothing else to fight for. In the world after the earthquake, people couldn’t go to university, find jobs, or compete for attention on social media. They just needed to find enough resources to stay alive, and it was the company of their loved ones that made their lives worth living. Gi Su controlled the former, but he severely underestimated the latter. He thought that as long as the immediate family was taken care of, nobody would care about the children. That is where he was wrong. Nam San and Ji Wan were not Su Na’s family, but they weren’t any different than that, which was why they risked their lives to protect her.
Yang Gi Su never cared about the apartments. He just wanted to set up a lab somewhere so that he could continue with his work. But Gi Su forgot that he was not the only person who loved his child, and neglecting others’ love had been his biggest folly. His lack of patience with them and subsequent loss of temper are what caused him to open gunfire, which affected him and his daughter’s bodies, erasing any hope for her survival or for an end to his madness. If only he had stopped at some point, his daughter could’ve had a dignified death.