Followers

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Redbelt

I just want to take a moment to recommend Mamet's new film, Redbelt. It is a well executed martial arts drama, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men).

The movie is basically Karate Kid for adults. Except Mr. Miyagi is the protagonist. Watch him beat up the bullies and defend the honor of his Jiu-Jitsu school!

It starts off a little slow, but from a certain scene (where Tim Allen is introduced) until the end it is very engaging. Sometimes the dialogue gets a little too Mamety, and it sticks out (particularly in Ricky Jay's scenes), but otherwise I have no real issues with the film.

The fight scenes aren't going to blow you away from a technical standpoint. They're good, but very rooted in reality. What sets them apart from many other martial arts movies, however, is that the emotional edge to the scenes is much heavier. Certain things happen throughout the film that really make what Ejiofor is fighting for mean something. Beyond just the typical cliche of "I'm fighting for my honor."

This movie has a fantastic climax, and then ends abruptly. Mamet knows that in a martial arts movie that once the final fight is over, so is the movie. But he gives you a final shot that actually sticks with you. The movie's ending isn't just about the thrill of victory, but something much, much deeper.