Redbelt David Mamet

Redbelt David Mamet
Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a principled fighter in a relatively obscure discipline — he eschews professional matches due to their commercial exploitation, but his training studio is on the verge of economic collapse. He trains an off duty cop (UFC legend Randy Couture) who gets involved with a distraught lawyer (Emily Mortimer), setting off a series of chain reactions that impact Terry’s business, future fighting prospects and even his safety. At least, I think that’s the movie that acclaimed playwright turned director Mamet was trying to make. There’s a whole lot of trademark stutter-stop chatter going on; a bucket load of the usual Mamet suspects show up in different small roles (Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon); and the film seems quite taken with the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, which it neither presents effectively nor dramatises well. What occurs instead in Redbelt is a series of ducks and nods in different directions — Terry gets roped into a suspicious movie deal with a fading star (Tim Allen); he gets a "genius” idea stolen from a fight promoter; he has to fight against his will in order to save his dojo (or whatever). Any one of these plot points should be a fine start for as accomplished a writer as Mamet. Instead he dips his toes in each yet commits to none. The shockingly abrupt ending will leave most scratching their heads and asking, "but what happened with that other thing? You know, the plot point you spent half the movie building?” Something about this fight needs to be fixed. Plus: commentary, Q&A, MMA featurette, fighter profiles, more. (Mongrel Media)