All Fight Fans Should Watch 'FightWorld' on Netflix
Seriously, it's incredible.
I had been waiting for this particular show to appear online for a long time. I'm a fan of Frank Grillo both as an actor and as a person. You may recognize him from movies such as Captain America Civil War, The Grey, and The Purge Series, and a role in Wolf Warrior 2, the highest grossing non Hollywood movie ever. Or you might know him from his appearances on podcasts like The Fighter and the Kid and others. He's got tons of action movie chops, and does way more than look the part.
The 52-year-old is an avid fight fan and has trained in various mixed martial arts like Muay Thai as well as boxing and wrestling for years. If you saw his show on Showtime, Kingdom, then you already know that Frank is for real. His passion for fight sports fueled his 5 episode Netflix Series FightWorld and as a fellow fight fan, I would implore anyone who enjoys combat sports to watch this show.
I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that THIS IS NOT A PAID ADVERTISEMENT. I watched the show because I've been a fan of the fight game for a long time, and we all know how well it translates to the screen. Whether it is live action, Rocky movies, UFC Countdowns, or HBO Boxing's 24/7 features, the journey of fighters makes for massively compelling television. Or streaming.
A Beautifully Shot Piece of Violence
Visually, this show is absolutely stunning. Grillo and company may have done the typical travel show thing as in going to several exotic locals. They hit Mexico, Thailand, Myanmar, Senegal, and Israel. All these locations are beautiful but the show is able to capture the unseen parts of the country. As Grillo terms it in the show's intro, "This isn't a show about fighting, it's a show about people who fight." The people who do fight, and the places in which people do fight tend to be darker, grittier, and in worse parts of town.
The team does a great job of capturing this and allowing the viewer to find themselves immersed in the dark concrete corner where a well worn bag hangs. A hot wet South Asian summer, training outside, kicking trees or bags held together with duct tape. Fight sports are the cheapest sports to start up, so there is a large diversity of backgrounds who become attracted to the sports. The show steers into it and embraces the poverty that many might find off putting.
There is brutality in fighting. Head-butting, head kicks, trainers screaming at young fighters, blood and defeat. Watching these experiences play out on screen, and watching Grillo's reaction to them, brings you into the corner with them and the emotions out of you.
Fight Sports You Might Not Know About
Sure, you might generally know where Myanmar is, or that it used to be called Burma. Do you know what Lethwei is? Yeah, you're going to find out, and it's worth the wait. Krav Maga? I knew that as a fitness class that trendy mothers took, but not as the deadly Israeli martial art. That's a mistake I'll never make again. Senegalese wrestling? Also called Laamb, Lutte avec frappe, or some other variations depending on the language. It's got a rabid country wide following and the championships creates one of the wildest scenes in sports. Even more commonly known sports like Muay Thai and boxing are cast in a new light and give you something to learn about.
Just watch the show.
It's a rapid 5 episodes. You can break them up one by one or binge it all but it's worth the watch. It'll also make you want to jump in the gym immediately. With the holidays coming up, there's bound to be some down time, so go ahead and turn on an episode. You'll see Grillo, some fighting legends, and a side of the sport you likely never have before. Watch FIGHTWORLD.