Anyone Else Remember Redbelt?

I’m not talking about the documentary “Redbelts”, I’m talking about the David Mamet film with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen and Emily Mortimer.

Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention when I was watching, but I thought that film was terrible. For anyone that didn’t watch it, a quick summary of the plot from Wikipedia:

“While closing his Jiu-jitsu studio one evening, Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is approached by attorney Laura Black (Emily Mortimer), who is seeking the owner of the vehicle she accidentally sideswiped.”

No one seems to be able to succinctly sum up the rest of the plot, but here it goes. Essentially people are rarely what they seem to be, and the main character is forced to make a series of difficult decisions, including engaging in an MMA fight when he is adamantly opposed to competition.

It’s sort of a round-about reason how I got to thinking of this film, but I can tell you when I first watched it I was not impressed. In fact, I thought the whole thing was pretty atrocious. But looking on IMDB, people are lauding Mamet’s directing and the “tension” in each scene. I just saw actors looking awkwardly at one another and saying lines that seemed terribly out of place.

What did you guys think of it? Did you think it was terrible, or brilliant? There’s no wrong answer here and you’ll find comrades on either side of the fence, I’m just curious.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Anyone Else Remember Redbelt?

  1. Jaime de Sa

    I loved “Redbelt.” I thought it was well done, the jiu-jitsu looked great and was a commentary on how people sell out their principles for money.

  2. I didn’t care for it much, but I did get a bit teary both for the cop and the thing that happened just before the credits (even while thinking with my logical brain that the latter was unrealistic and hokey). Maybe I was premenstrual at the time. I remember once when I was premenstrual and sobbing my eyes out over some lame movie in which these kids got a robot grandmother and then she was recalled by the manufacturer.

  3. You’re not alone, many thought the film was rubbish, I regretted waiting time from my life watching that.

    • Katie

      Eh, I’ll have to watch it again- it was do long ago maybe there was something I missed, or I had different expectations at the time.

  4. It was a lot better than I was expecting, as I’d read lots of posts saying how utterly crap it was before I got to watch. Certainly not brilliant, but not complete rubbish either.

    I’m a fan of Chiwetel Ejiofor (I thought he was great in Kinky Boots and Serenity. Impressive range too, as he played completely different roles). I also had a chance to meet him (well ok, shake his hand ;p) while he was learning BJJ for Redbelt: I saw him taking privates with Roger several times before class.

    Looking at what I wrote after I watched it back in 2009, my two main issues with it were firstly the dubious message throughout the film that competition is somehow shady and twisted, taking away from the ‘pure’ self defence of BJJ.

    The second thing, to copy and paste myself, was that there wasn’t a single positive Brazilian character in the whole film. The best they could manage was Dan Inosanto (not entirely sure if he can pass as Brazilian, but clearly he was supposed to be) as the Helio substitute, but he’s neutral at most, given that he never actually gets to speak, or indeed move from his seat until the very end.

    I’m surprised the Brazilians involved with the film were ok with their portrayal, though I guess a lot of the American characters came off badly too.

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