Monday 7 August 2023

REVIEW: Soulcatcher (2023) - Starring Piotr Witkowski, Jacek Koman, Michal Burdan and Jacek Poniedzialek

Review by Jon Donnis
"Soulcatcher," directed by Daniel Markowicz, delivers an interesting and explosive experience that combines the adrenaline-pumping excitement of classic action with intriguing sci-fi elements. Clocking in at 1 hour and 38 minutes, this Polish-language film, distributed by Netflix, takes audiences on a ride of intense fights, heart-stopping explosions, and a dash of futuristic technology.

The film wastes no time in plunging viewers into its chaotic world. Private military contractors Kiel (Piotr Witkowski) and Piotr (Michal Burdan) embark on what seems like a routine extraction mission in a remote corner of Poland. However, their plans go awry when they're attacked by seemingly deranged civilians. The action escalates when Piotr succumbs to the same frenzied state and turns against his own brother, forcing Kiel to make a gut-wrenching decision.

As the story unfolds, the mysterious "soulcatcher" technology takes center stage. Created by scientist Witold Mazur (Jacek Poniedzialek) with the intention of curing cancer, the device instead transforms its victims into homicidal zombies upon impact. With the soulcatcher in the hands of the rogue general Yousif (Mariusz Bonaszewski), who plans to sell it on the black market, Kiel is enlisted by Polish government official Jan Zareba (Jacek Koman) to retrieve the technology at any cost, but also with the claim that it can be fixed so it can be used to heal again.

The film has a decent cast, led by Witkowski as Kiel, who delivers a fair performance as a tough yet conflicted protagonist. Michalina Olszanska portrays Eliza Mazur, adding depth to the narrative with her determination to rescue her father and put an end to the deadly technology's reign. Vanish Luthra, Sebastian Stankiewicz, Aleksandra Adamska, and Mateusz Mlodzianowski round out the mercenary team, each bringing their own unique flair to their roles.

Markowicz's direction infuses the film with a decent pace, as the team races against time to thwart Yousif's plans. The action sequences are a strong point to the film, embracing the classic action genre's formula of thrilling combat and spectacular explosions. The blend of gritty realism with the intriguing sci-fi twist of the soulcatcher adds an innovative layer to the movie.

The film's narrative tries its best to look into the human cost of power and the potential consequences of unchecked scientific advancements.

The Good
Some nice old fashioned action scenes take centre stage, some decent performances and an intriguing storyline.

The Bad
A low budget hampers the film, and I would have liked much more of a sci fi feel to the film. We never really learn how the machine could have been used to heal either.

"Soulcatcher" delivers a decent storyline, some good performances, and fun explosive visuals, this Polish action thriller is perhaps not what you might expect, but does give fans of the genre something to watch.

I have not watched many, if any Polish action films. This one is ok. Perfectly watchable, it moves along as a fair enough pace, isn't too long.

Worth a shot.

I score Soulcatcher a fair 6.5/10

Out now on Netflix at