Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Bartkowiak’ on Netflix, Where A Wronged MMA Fighter Takes On Trouble Way Out Of His Weight Class

Bartkowiak (Netflix) pits an MMA fighter who acquired a uncooked deal within the octagon in opposition to the shady company energy brokers who need to steal his household’s nightclub by any means crucial. This fighter with two fists and a coronary heart of gold should get within the ring yet one more time, however there’s no referee, and even the bell is rigged in opposition to him. Fortunately, ache don’t damage…


The Gist: Tomek Bartkowiak (Jozef Pawlowski) is an MMA fighter with a devastating proper jab and a good shot at taking it to the subsequent degree. Together with his coach Pawel (Szymon Bobrowski) in his nook and his brother Wiktor cheering him on, Tomek is about to TKO the tattooed, scarred Repec (Damian Majewski) when any individual slips him a mickey. Bartkowiak is overwhelmed mindless, disgraced as a doper, and his coach loses the hefty chunk of change he wager on his boy. Tomek retreats to a cabin within the mountainous Zakopane area to lick his wounds, and that’s the place Wiktor seems with a proposal to affix him in working Ring, their family-owned Warsaw nightclub. However earlier than the noble fighter may even contemplate his brother’s provide, Wiktor is killed in a brutal excessive velocity collision, and Tomek finds himself working Ring in his absence.

Tomek’s expulsion from the battle world, his brother’s premature dying, Pawel’s monetary break and ensuing ingesting drawback, and the mysterious gives Tomek receives to buy Ring: it’s all related to a shady conglomerate’s efforts to construct a glittering workplace tower on the part of Previous Warsaw the place the membership and plenty of mom-and-pop companies occur to exist. Tomek and his girlfriend Dominika (Zofia Domalik) — she’s Coach Pawel’s daughter, and in addition works at Metropolis Corridor — Tomek decides to face down the nefarious forces leaning on the native companies, and hopefully uncover who killed his brother. Just a few knocked heads later, and the difficulty leads proper to the sinister Kolodziejczyk (Bartlomiej Topa), who can also be the uncle of Repec, the tatted-up fighter. Extra bother awaits our hero and his small cohort, however no person as noble as Tomek Bartkowiak is gonna go down with only one punch.

Bartkowiak (2021)
Photograph: Netflix

What Films Will It Remind You Of? Bartkowiak grafts the plot from Road House onto the self-esteem of Tomek’s being a disgraced MMA fighter, however the outdated noticed of grasping builders laboring to push out good-hearted small fry is as timeworn as any variety of outdated “A-Workforce” episodes.

Efficiency Price Watching: “It’s a disgrace how few folks respect the artwork of gardening. My father used to say it’s correcting the unfinished work of God, therefore taking his place.” The veteran Polish actor Bartlomiej Topa is terrific right here as Kolodziejczyk, a person who obscures his ethical chapter and sadism behind refined speech and free motion amongst the nation’s monetary elite. They know who Kolodziejczyk is, although, they usually anticipate him to deal with their soiled laundry, a truth Topa all the time retains simply on the opposite aspect of his character’s cautious, pinched sneer.

Memorable Dialogue: As soon as Bartkowiak uncovers simply how far up the meals chain of energy and affect all of this street-level violence and harassment goes, it’s simply one other step to attach it into the fallout from Poland’s remaining many years because the Polish Individuals’s Republic. “Many individuals disappeared again then — politicians, enterprise folks, and the navy. Individuals say it was him. And now [Kolodziejczyk] has taken over — the strategies, the contacts…the job. He’s untouchable.”

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Tomek and Dominika share a night of intimacy as they rekindle their romance.

Our Take: Bartkowiak opens with a reasonably stable battle sequence, monitoring Tomek and Repec as they sq. off within the octagon, throwing jabs, flying kicks, and aggressive wrestling holds at one another in a quest for dominance. And afterward, as soon as the shit has fully hit the fan and Kolodziejczyk is now not enjoying video games, he sends goons with baseball bats to bust up the membership, solely they’re met by the bullheaded Pawel, who acquired sober simply in time to crack 5 guys’ skulls. Throw within the inevitable rematch between Tomek and Repec, and Bartkowiak has its share of bruising. The factor is, there isn’t sufficient fisticuffs for this outing from Polish director Daniel Markowicz for Bartkowiak to fulfill a style viewers, and the plotting that takes the place of extra preventing is normal challenge at finest.

What Bartkowiak does have going for it’s stable performances throughout the board. As Tomek, Jozef Pawlowski is measured and type. However he gained’t be taken benefit of, and after a warning he’ll unleash a flurry of punches into your midsection. As Coach Pawel, Szymon Bobrowski is an element bear, half drunk, and half comedian aid — Bobrowski performs up how a lot Pawel wavers between his washed up current and profitable, powerfully-built previous. Whether or not it’s booze or cauliflower ear that has this man punch drunk is a part of the enjoyable of watching him work. Bartlomiej Topa oozes menace as Kolodziejczyk, and when it’s his flip for the scenery-chewing reckoning you all the time knew was coming, Topa savors the second, spitting out grandiosities about Samurai warriors as he chops on the air with a spear. Bartkowiak isn’t rather more than pores and skin deep. However its actors know how you can throw a punch.

Our Name: STREAM IT. Even when it’s greater than doubtless you’ve seen this plot earlier than, you’ll end up rooting for Bartkowiak as he takes on unhealthy guys a lot larger than only one man.

Johnny Loftus is an unbiased author and editor residing at massive in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Information, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Comply with him on Twitter: @glennganges

Watch Bartkowiak on Netflix | Stream It or Skip It?


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