A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.
Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.
Is there room for principle in Los Angeles? Mike Terry teaches jujitsu and barely makes ends meet. His Brazilian wife, whose family promotes fights, wants to see Mike in the ring making money, but to him competition is degrading. A woman sideswipes Mike's car and then, after an odd sequence of events, shoots out the studio's window. Later that evening, Mike rescues an action movie star in a fistfight at a bar. In return, the actor befriends Mike, gives him a gift, offers him work on his newest film, and introduces Mike's wife to his own - the women initiate business dealings. Then, things go sour all at once, Mike's debts mount, and going into the ring may be his only option.Written by
When Ricardo comes out from behind the curtain the red band on his belt is on the right side. Then when the camera changes it's on the left side. See more »
Tie him up.
The hands are not the issue. The fight is the issue. The battle is the issue. Who imposes the terms of the battle will impose the terms of the peace. Think he has a handicap? No. The other guy has a handicap if he cannot control himself. You control yourself, you control him.
Take him to court.
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"Never stop fighting 'til the fight is done." Mamet's Untouchables.
From Jackie Chan gymnastics to Crouching Tiger fantasy and all martial arts in between, if you are watching to witness bloody realism, then go to snuff movies because most mainstream filmmakers would wish you to see the metaphor in the mayhem rather than the shock in the schlock. David Mamet's Redbelt is more than a Jiu-Jitsu competition for the highest belt; in the best tradition of complicated fight films, this competition is for the principled soul of academy owner/instructor Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the fight representing a challenge to his long-standing Samurai principle that "a competition is not a fight." Mamet's love affair with crisp crude language (See Spartan and Glengarry Glen Ross for starters) is in this film still a staccato rhythm mixed with minimal dialogue emphasizing the great issues such as authenticity and honesty rather than expletives. Mike is unwittingly thrown into the maelstrom of a con, which he should be able to evade according to his mantra that there is always an escape.
The academy needs cash; Terry is maneuvered by slick operatives to fight for $50, 000, contrary to his belief in the authenticity of a real fight and the sham of competition. What happens next is minor for the outcome but major for seeing the corruption of those around the fighter. It's all a house of cards, to pick the title of one of Mamet's challenging films. The playwright, director is constantly facing his heroes with con games that threaten their sense of right in an essentially chaotic universe.
Redbelt may be one of Mamet's less dense films, but it still reflects a filmmaker dedicated to unearthing the ambiguity through the metaphors of gritty, violent daily life, in which principle will not always defeat betrayal. I am thankful this film is neither the fantasy of so many Asian martial arts films these days, nor is it the inane romance of Never Back Down. "It is what it is," as today's tough guys might say, and that's a violent concept just right in the age of Iraq and presidential politics.
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