Rolling Stone - 04/25/2008 3 stars out of 4 -- "Ejiofor confirms his status as one of the best actors anywhere....The resonant stillness he brings to REDBELT pulls you in....Mamet is on his game, and that is a sight to see."
USA Today - 05/02/2008 3 stars out of 4 -- "Anchored by a powerful and nuanced performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mamet's latest writing and directing effort is a compelling drama about the world of martial arts fighting."
Los Angeles Times - 05/02/2008
"[T]ricky and engrossing....A contemporary noir with a samurai movie interior, as sincere, plaintive and strangely optimistic a movie as he's made."
New York Times - 05/02/2008
"[T]he film's visual moderation, contained scale and ambition keep it well tethered. It's a tight film purely if not simply, which of course also means it's about he struggle to live."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/09/2008
"Mamet regulars Ricky Jay and Joe Mantegna blend well with Mamet newbie Tim Allen, a treat as a spoiled-rotten aging Hollywood action star." -- Grade: B+
Premiere - 04/28/2008 3 stars out of 4 -- "REDBELT offers a good deal of Mametian red meat while also trying to break out of some of the strictures that Mamet's erected around his own work."
Total Film - 11/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "Ejiofor is superbly centered and authoritative, completely in command of Mamet's mantra-like dialogue."
Empire - 11/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "Standing out in a cracking cast, Ejiofor is electric as a man being slowly driven to breaking point...it's enthralling and moving, proving that, even for David Mamet, actions can speak louder than words."
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor follows his turn in AMERICAN GANGSTER by taking the lead role in this thoughtful fight movie from writer/director David Mamet. Ejiofor plays Mike Terry, a man who runs his own Jiu-jitsu studio in Los Angeles. Terry's business is failing, causing tension between him and his wife, Sondra (Alice Braga). But their lives change drastically when Terry is compelled to come to the aid of an actor, Chet Frank (Tim Allen), during a bar fight. Frank befriends Terry and invites him to come and work as a consultant on a movie he is shooting. Just as Terry's fortunes seem to be changing, he finds himself caught up in a deceitful plan that has been carefully hatched by Frank's devious agent (who is played by Mamet regular Joe Mantegna). With his debts piling up, Terry decides to go against all his instincts and enter the competitive fighting world, where he stands to win a huge cash prize. But the good-natured fighter is in for a shock when he gets a close-up glimpse of the corruption that runs rife throughout the sport.
REDBELT is full of the usual plot twists and fine performances that mark any Mamet movie. It's fascinating to watch the director draw on his longstanding passion for Jiu-jitsu to fill out the storyline, and Ejiofor does a convincing job as a man who draws on the discipline of the sport to stay calm during some testing times. As with many Mamet films, a series of cons are liberally sprinkled throughout the script, calling on viewers to remain alert as each strand of the storyline slowly unravels. The bulk of the movie is conversational, shying away from the action sequences that mark most fight movies, and making REDBELT an unusual and invaluable addition to the genre.
Description by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
Redbelt is the story of Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Jiu-Jitsu teacher who has avoided the prize fighting circuit, choosing instead to pursue an honorable life by operating a self-defense studio with a samurai's code. Terry and his wife Sondra (Alice Braga), struggle to keep the business running to make ends meet. An accident on a dark, rainy night at the Academy between an off duty officer and a distraught lawyer (Emily Mortimer) puts in motion a series of events that will change Terry's life dramatically introducing him to a world of promoters (Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna) and movie star Chet Frank (Tim Allen). Faced with this, in order to pay off his debts and regain his honor, Terry must step into the ring for the first time in his life.
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