Redbelt

2008

Drama / Sport

124
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 68%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 65%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 20,202

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 27, 2020

Director

Cast

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mike Terry
Jennifer Grey as Lucy Weiss
Rodrigo Santoro as Lady Di
Tim Allen as Chet Frank
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
910.13 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
99 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.83 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
99 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 8 / 10 / 10

Mamet creates a real hero

If you know your Mamet you can watch 'Redbelt' for the significant ways in which it's un-Mamet-like and it will be more enjoyable. If you don't know your Mamet, you're likely to find it just as baffling and off-putting as 'Heist,' 'Spartan,' 'The Spanish Prisoner,' etc., because the plot still moves forward, especially at the beginning, by a series of baffling twists. (It pays to keep coming back.) Mamet's dialog with its pauses and repetitions and non-sequiturs is so famously mannered and self-conscious you can picture it on the page of script even as the actors speak it. Such artificiality works better in principle on stage. The greater issue when Mamet writes and directs his own movie is the story line. His plot twists are so purely clever, so completely arbitrary, it's hard to take them seriously. The result is enjoyable in a head-trip kind of way, but ultimately cold and uninvolving. As David Edelstein says in his nonetheless favorable review of 'Redbelt,' its plot is "so bizarrely convoluted it barely holds together on a narrative level." Maybe Edelstein's right that this is typical of fight movies; it's even more typical of Mamet. His double-crosses, often involving Hollywood people and crooked promoters, are more rapid-fire and intricate than the usual genre equivalents. But coming after the cold blur of Mamet's 2004 'Spartan,' 'Redbelt' seems unusually fresh and strong. Some have just attributed this to Mamet's doing a "noir," a "prize fight story," even a "Rocky," with "mixed martial arts" (jujitsu really) the updated replacement of boxing--and this time not even getting in the way of the (for him) new genre. But I think the important difference is Mamet's departure not from previous genres or the conventions of this one, but from his usual cynicism, which makes the ending far less routine and mechanical than 'Spartan's,' less cold and clever than any of his previous endings were. Genre elements are still definitely there. You can see 'Redbelt,' for a while anyway, as a grownup 'Karate Kid', with Chiwetel Ejiofor the Mr. Miyagi and a cop named Joey his Daniel-san. There are two interpretations of this comparison. Either the dip into old fashioned B-picture structures makes 'Redbelt' a winner, more forceful and accessible than Mamet's usual hide-and-seek bluffs. Or the Mamet mannerisms are absurd in an otherwise conventional action setting and it's a flop. (Those who complain the fights aren't specific enough are surely missing how well the passive, defensive methods of jujitsu are defined and illustrated in the film early on so they can be appreciated later.) The skeleton of the fight story trajectory is unquestionably there, but with a difference. The movie (apparently) ends with a big staged public competition surrounded by the paraphernalia of audience and promotion and suspense about outcome. Like an old-style boxing flick the movie refers to gambling, fixed fights, payoffs, prizes. But first of all this isn't about boxing--"Boxing's dead," one of the promoters says--and Mamet even takes a lot of personal pleasure in working with this different sport, using his own knowledge from five years of training in it. But more than that, the difference in the sport and the hero's dedication to it significantly change the framework and the ending. Unlike just any conventional athlete, Mike Terry (Ejiofor) practices and teaches a Brazilian form of jujitsu--his wife Sondra (Alice Braga) is Brazilian--and therefore follows the Bushido code. This is not only not boxing. It's a philosophy, and as we know, its focus is not winning a staged contest but triumphing over any enemy in a conflict. 'Redbelt' is a martial arts movie with a hero who succeeds to the end in staying outside any system. Mike never intends to and does not participate in a promoted public fight (though Mamet just barely dodges that--with his usual slickness in plot twists). This is where Mamet completely deviates from his usual world of one cynical double-cross after another. Unlike the underdog, Mike has nothing to prove. His dojo is financially unsuccessful not because he's some kind of hitherto floundering loser but simply because he is--he must be--indifferent to money. He is in peak condition and never loses, but when he triumphs it's only to make a point, not prove himself. This may link him with Mr. Miyagi. But unlike Miyagi, Mike fights, and defeats, a lot of people on-screen. This is so much an action movie and Ejiofor is so convincing that the dialog very rarely sounds mannered this time. If you understand what Mamet's doing and how that's different this time from both Mamet's routines and the sports genre film, the ending ins't hasty or confused so much as emotionally satisfying and right. If you insist, you can say it's just 'Rocky' for grownups who like Eastern philosophy; but that's something awfully new for this writer/director. As usual for Mamet, 'Redbelt' isn't realistic. But this time he isn't just being clever: the movie leads not to "Ah ha!" but simply a satisfied "Ah!" This time Mamet doesn't give us a manipulated character who does or doesn't survive: he gives us a real hero. This is where the excellent Ejiofor is so essential and so cool. Mike is a character Mamet never conceived before--and a hero more convincing in his iron resiliency than is usual, thanks to the calm intensity and inner peace the actor effortlessly projects. There are plenty of other reasons in the cast for being happy. Everyone is unusually good and those characters who seem cheap and slick are that way because they're from the world of cheap and slick people. Those who come closer to Mike Terry like his wife and the initially dodgy woman lawyer Laura Black (Emily Mortimer) who becomes his partner in conflict, and his black belt, Joe Ryan (Max Martini) are thoroughly warm and convincing.

Reviewed by sulaco_in 8 / 10 / 10

Another searing masterpiece from Mamet!!

I just saw this movie yesterday at the Tribeca Film Festival, NYC. I have never posted a review at IMDb before, in spite of being a loyal visitor to this website for 10 years now. However, after watching Redbelt, I have been forced to say something. In short the film is about a martial arts instructor who is too idealistic for the real world around him. Thats why he stays safely behind the confines of his teaching academy. One night though, a series of events changes everything and he is forced to come out into the open and confront the consequences of the ripple effect. This confrontation, in the hands of David Mamet becomes white hot and you can feel the tension of the film in your pulse. The audience applauded many scenes and in the end I think the standing ovation must have lasted five minutes or more. Many people also felt that this film should have been considered for the Cadillac Award, and were disappointed that Redbelt was ineligible for the top competition honor. As always taut screenplay and cracking dialogues were the hallmark of the film, like any other Mamet movie or play. During the course of the film I couldn't help but wonder at the raw intensity that Mamet manages to bring to his films. I have not been able to pin point so far, but I do see parallels between the protagonists of his earlier film Spartan (played by Val Kilmer) and Redbelt (played to greatness by the ever brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor). Overall an amazing film and Mamet fans won't be disappointed.

Reviewed by jaredmobarak 8 / 10 / 10

There's always an escape…Redbelt

David Mamet is back with his new film Redbelt. After four years away from Hollywood, producing the television show "The Unit," Mamet has followed up his solid thriller Spartan with a drama of intelligence that only he can capture. Complete with the trademark, metered language—every word timed and delivered with precision—this tale may be billed as a mixed martial arts actioner, but it is so much more. The sport itself lends heavily to the plot for sure, but rather than with its moves and choreography, it is the underlying sense of honor that becomes the central focus. Beginning as a straight-forward drama of faith and morality, culminating into what appears to be this Jiu-Jitsu instructor's big chance at success and wealth to keep his fledgling gym in business, Mamet's story soon gets the rug pulled out from under it, fast and hard. I will admit to not having expected the sharp turn of events halfway through as everything Mike Terry has built his life upon ends up leading to his demise, eventually finding him on the edge of throwing all he believes in away forever. A film of respect and sacrifice, greed and deceit, Redbelt goes places you will not be ready for, yet it is handled deftly, causing all the machinations to fall into place and show their true worth in the progression of the story. It all happens for a reason; life sometimes deals you pain and leaves you in a choke hold about to lose air, but as Terry tells his students, there is always an escape. I don't want to ruin anything with this film, because truthfully it caught me off-guard. Maybe the turn was hinted in the trailer, I don't remember, but it is better to go in following the plot threads and watching it all unravel. With that said, I do have a problem with the ending. Not so much the tone and end result, but in the way it all transpires. I believe it is a perfect conclusion if not played out too easily without explaining the motivations behind two Jiu-Jitsu champions and their actions. To do what they do, it would almost mean they knew what was going on with the tournament, that they knew what Terry was about to tell the world before he spoke…I just don't see how that can be true. Maybe Mamet just wanted to stick to a minimalist approach and allow it all to occur in sequence, and it is a powerful progression, it's just filled with that one problem which could have possibly been rectified, but maybe it was and I missed it. I don't want to accuse the filmmaker of a plot-hole if he actually did cover it up, I just can't remember it happening. It's the one blight on an otherwise stellar film. The script is a huge part of the success and really that is where Mamet either flourishes or fails. At times he can be too cute or too overwrought, but at other instances he can be at the top of the industry. I generally find his smaller works, based off his own plays, as his best work, but this one is definitely on par. The ability to take us on this journey with two halves of good times and the fall from them is a feat that usually fails due to contrivances and blatant tells. Maybe I was tired or just too caught up in the acting and fight sequences, but it really surprised me in a good way; I didn't see it coming at all. Credit should go to the performers too for keeping their end of the game high quality. You believe all involved just as Mike Terry does throughout and when it hits him, the revelation is astounding. I believe that is due to the brilliant turn from Chiwetel Ejiofor in this lead role. Supposedly he had never had any formal martial arts training beforehand, but when you see him encompass Terry, you won't believe that. He really pulls off the realism and the energy and the stoic calm of being in control at all times, not competing because that forum only weakens you. Eijiofor carries the film on his back as he enters the world of Hollywood business and behind closed-door deals before attempting to claw his way out. Despite the opportunity presented him, he never falters from the passion he has in the sport and the willingness to help anyone in need. A true hero, Mike Terry continues on his path of righteousness, pushing the anger away and clearing his mind to prevail. The rest of the cast—consisting of many Mamet regulars like wife Rebecca Pidgeon, David Paymer, and Ricky Jay in small roles—take the words and nail each reading. Max Martini stands out as Terry's star pupil and backbone emotionally to the story; Alice Braga is good as the wife finding that standing by her man may not be the way to succeed financially in life; Emily Mortimer is fantastic as the troubled attorney who's accidental introduction to the gym puts everything into motion; and Tim Allen shows that maybe he still has some good serious turns in him if only he can get some time off from children's fare. Along with the acting comes some amazing choreography fight-wise too. The camera usually stays in close-up, but there aren't too many sharp cuts, allowing the full fight to play out as realistically as possible. Sure we get the one man fighting a gang and winning, but he never prevails unscathed, allowing us to believe what we are seeing.

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