clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

I Didn't Care For "Redbelt"

This reviewer pretty much sums up my experience:

With Redbelt, Mamet does a better job as director than as writer. Sure, we've got the typical Mamet wheels-within-wheels series of scams/cons and double-crosses - and the film plays to the idea of purity of mind in martial arts versus the crass commercialism of professional mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, after giving us some extremely good set-up, Mamet allows the film to fall onto a kind of clichéd physical battle between Terry and the man behind the tournament - with the master of his art in attendance, no less. The film could easily have ended before the final scene, though. That was a bit too much.

The acting was superb and Mamet's direction was typically good. But the film's "B movie" architecture forced it to resort to the lowest common denominator of moral and ethical messaging. This was nowhere more prominent at the very end, which finished in a very strange, hardly believable, over the top homage to some literary notion of purity and honor (As a side note, the depiction of jiu-jitsu is nothing like jiu-jitsu in the real world as I've come to understand it over the years. I suppose that doesn't really matter for the story, though).

I thought I would want to see this movie and it is by no means bad or unwatchable. But it isn't much of anything. The ethical underpinnings of the theme are hard to swallow in the format Mamet's uses, which makes me wonder altogether if the type of movie Mamet was after can even be created using MMA as the subtext. So, go see it if you have a free afternoon, but I left questioning what others saw in a movie that was rich only in accouterments.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow