Friday 14 September 2012

Film: Redbelt

A principled martial-arts instructor is drawn into the world of competition fighting and fight promotion in this 2008 drama from writer / director David Mamet.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Four Brothers, Salt) is Mike Terry, a former soldier turned jiu-jitsu instructor who has fallen on hard times. As he struggles to pay the rent an accidental shooting at his dojo involving a lawyer (Emily Mortimer) and a policeman sparks a series of events that leads to Terry mixing with movie stars (Tim Allen) and unscrupulous managers.

Against his better judgment and personal beliefs Terry agrees to take part in a mixed martial-arts fighting tournament. Will he triumph while keeping his principles intact?

The growing popularity of MMA has inevitably spawned numerous films. Most of them are straight to DVD efforts that concentrate on action and the biggest success of the genre has undoubtedly been Warrior starring Tom Hardy & Nick Nolte.

While Warrior was a Rocky type story with an MMA backdrop David Mamet (who is himself a jiu-jitsu practitioner) has concentrated on the style of fighting that inspired MMA and the ethics of a man firmly embedded in its teachings.

Ejiofor is superb as the morally conflicted martial artist and brilliant support comes from Mortimer, Allen and Alice Braga as Terry’s wife. Many real-life fighters also appear, including Randy Couture of The Expendables.

This is the thinking man’s MMA movie and is an absolute must-see for fans of jiu-jitsu and MMA. This will also appeal to anyone who enjoys high quality drama and good old-fashioned underdog films.  

Ric’s Rating: Essential.      


  1. Really? I thought this sucked ten different ways. Well, maybe I'm just that guy who's a purist about everything. Thought it was movie about not much. There's not much fighting involved at all.

  2. Yeah but when the fighting does happen it means more Ben. I can see why it won't be to everyone's liking but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


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