Written by: Adam Vaughn | June 24th, 2021
Catch the Fair One (Josef Kubota Wladyka, 2021) 3 out of 4 stars.
Josef Kubota Wladyka’s narrative about a primed and determined fighter taking on the hidden dangers of sex trafficking sheds light on an alarming and intense conflict. It’s one that seems all too real in today’s climate of missing children sold to illegal slavery. While Catch the Fair One hones in on a sharp and distinctive dramatic tone, many of its ideas get lost in translation or underplayed, leaving more to be desired by the end.
One of the film’s most interesting elements is the portrayal of protagonist Kaylee (played by boxer Kali Reis). Kaylee’s strength, edge, grit and stubbornness drive the entire film, making her ultimate goal of finding her younger sister all the more interesting from the very start. Reis brings a dynamic performance, as Kaylee undergoes extremely dangerous circumstances. In many ways, she is like the female equivalent of Liam Neeson in the film Taken, in terms of how Wladyka portrays Kaylee’s power and confidence. Alongside Kaylee, Catch the Fair One also comes with a well-directed supporting cast, including Kevin Dunn (Thunder Force), Michael Drayer (The Babadook) and another boxing star, Shelly Vincent.
Despite enjoying the main storyline, I couldn’t help but feel that so many interesting, major ideas were pushed to the background. Through small scenes with Kaylee and members of her family and boxing team, we learn that she is of Native American descent, yet the film only briefly dives into this theme before (mostly) abandoning it. Although we see a bit of Kaylee as an actual boxer, we don’t really get to see a full match with her, which I feel would have been an engaging supporting scene to build on Kaylee as a physically and mentally strong woman.
While several ideas are pushed to the back burner, Catch the Fair One remains, overall, immensely riveting. It places a classic good-versus-evil premise into a modern, relevant setting and follows a likeable protagonist who is easy to root for. The result is a film packed with drama and intensity that thrills as well as entertains.