When is a martial arts film not a film about martial arts? When it is a David Mamet film of course.Redbelt tells the story of Mike Terry who is a struggling Jiu-jitsu instructor. His wife, Sondra is forced to direct money from her business into his in order to pay his bills. And she isn’t that happy about it. Especially because Mike will not fight in competitions; he sees them as weakening. A fight is a fight, a competition has rules and regulations, it isn’t a real fight. He also spouts “philosophical” statements about Jiu-jitsu and life in general. The main one being that there is always a way out.
This is a bit of an odd film. It starts off quite slow, ponderous is probably a little strong, but I did sorta wonder when the plot was going to get moving. Seemed to be a whole lot of character introduction and development, which was grand, but a film needs to be moving somewhere.
But it all ties together in the middle to form a pretty good fight film. Unfortunately I don’t think it works all that well in the end.
The fight scenes are pretty good. They aren’t the “flashy and the “dude”" that you might see in a real martial arts flick, but they feel solid and real. And all the actors do a fine job, course its a bit odd seeing Tim “the toolman” Taylor in a serious role.
There is quite a bit of silliness and implausibilities in this film. Plus the world’s worst delivered line Show Spoiler ▼
But for the most part its a good solid film. Albeit a little too full of honour and non-practical codes.