in Review

Redbelt’s a Knockout

Esteemed writer/director David Mamet has done it again with the release of his latest martial arts themed Redbelt. Known in the past for writing such films as Wag the Dog, and The Verdict, as well as writing and directing films like State and Main and Glengarry Glen Ross. (based upon the play also written by Mamet) Mamet has always shown a spark for portraying realistic characters and edgy dialogue to create some strong cinema and here we have a fine addition to his body of work.

In Mamet’s latest directorial effort, we are offered a thrilling look into the world of humble Jiu-Jitsu teacher, Mike Terry (Wonderfully played by character actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his struggle to overcome financial troubles and some very seedy people, while defending the honor of jiu-jitsu. Now to explain this movie to someone who’s never heard of it might be difficult. At first glance it would probably appear to be another run-of-the-mill karate movie, yet in actuality it’s so much more. Jiu-Jitsu may be the focus point for the film, but it’s as well a vehicle for these conflicted characters faced against a world of greed and corruption. Rebelt is really more of a gritty street-smart drama than an action film. Don’t get me wrong there is some great action, but here the characters and their morals come first and it certainly satisfies. The fact that this is a more independent production as well benefits this film. Giving it the opportunity to keepsthis film more personal and less “Hollywood” while casting good character actors as opposed to big stars (aside from Mr. Tim “Buzz Lightyear” Allen)

What I really enjoy about this film is it’s ability to always keep you guessing. Every scene has it’s meaning and signifigance, and it never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat thinking “How will that play into the film later? What are they gonna do next?” All in all, it’s nice to see a film that feels fresh and unique when there’s an entire sea of mediocre Hollywood flicks floating around. It’s too bad that these more independent features get pushed aside for films like Speed Racer and Made of Honor when this has more heart or intelligence in 5 minutes than those have in their whole duration. This is a smaller film, and I can see how some might find it at times slow, but by the end it delivers quite a punch and a nice way to kill an afternoon,


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