Redbelt

Things aren’t going well for Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor). His friend, Joe Collins (Max Martini) is killed, his marriage is shaky, he’s given a stolen watch by celebrity Chet Frank (Tim Allen) and Jerry Weiss (Joe Mantegna) and his jujitsu academy housing payment is behind. Also, he’s training Laura Black (Emily Mortimer), a disturbed and medicated lawyer who accidentally shot out his window. The only way to resolve his money issues is to do what he despises: compete in the IFA (International Fight Association).

Redbelt starts off good, but becomes a jumbled mess as time goes on. There are way too many subplots, that it’s hard to keep track of things. David Mamet does a terrible job at balancing the story, as even he seems lost with some of the subplots (two in which didn’t need to be apart of the story in the first place).

The acting is a mixed bag. Chiwetel Ejiofor does a good job as Mike Terry. Tim Allen is fine as Chet Frank, though he doesn’t get much screen time. Same goes for Joe Mantegna. Emily Mortimer does a half-way decent job as Laura Black, though her character feels useless (even when she’s put to good use). Alice Braga as Mike’s wife and Max Martini as his friend, Joe Collins, bring the film down. Max seems wooden, and Alice seems dilettante.

What could’ve been the saving grace turns out to be just another problem. The fighting is tame, scarce and badly coordinated (camera wise). Half the time you can’t tell what’s happening. You get flaky camera angles and out of place close-ups, which marred the fights. For all I know, the fights were very entertaining. If only I would’ve been able to see them.

Redbelt started out great, but fizzled very quickly. Multitudinous subplots plague the film, as do weird camera angles during the fight sequences (the selling point of the film). I can give Redbelt one accolade. It’s better than Never Back Down.

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