This film by David Mamet takes place in los angeles and is filled with an interesting array of characters such as martial arts types, show biz types, promoters, lawyers and cops. the story is about a jiu-jitsu instructor named mike terry (chiwetel ejiofor) struggling to get through life by operating a self-defense studio with his wife sondra (Alice Braga). a strange turn of events takes place at the studio involving a lawyer laura black (emily mortimer) and police officer joe collins (max martini). it eventually leads mike terry to consider fighting professionally to free himself from his financial burdens. terry is introduced to a world of promoters (joe montegna and ricky jay) and movie star chet frank (tim allen), who put him into an uncomfortable position requiring him to give up his honor for the root of all evil, money.

Chiwetel does an excellent job of playing an everyday joe trying to make it through life. the audience immediately relates to him, since with inflation setting in, we are all going to be struggling to make ends meet. his action scenes are well orchestrated and it is obvious that he put in a great deal of time learning about this martial art and philosophy that has a long history in japan and brazil. the one thing i found interesting in the writing and casting of the movie is that cyril takayama plays an illusionist who turns white marbles black and ricky jay, a master illusionist in real life, plays a convincing unethical fight promoter. it seems that mamet teams up with actors he has used in prior films such as ricky jay in the “spanish prisoner” and joe montegna in “homicide,” “things change,” and “house of cards.” over all the acting was good.

As mamet points out, this is not just another martial arts movie, it is a movie about honor, morals, and what is important in life couched in a martial arts theme. fred says, go see redbelt, it is what you would expect from david mamet.

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