Movie #24: Redbelt

I’m done with David Mamet. I loved Glengarry Glen Ross and The Spanish Prisoner so much that I kept watching his subsequent movies even though I found them boring and pointless. I wanted to give Redbelt a chance because it was a totally different kind of story (at least I thought it was). Chiwetel Ejiofor (who was amazing as The Operative in Serenity) plays Mike Terry, the jujitsu instructor with a heart of gold who stumbles into a series of circumstances that conspired to get him to fight in a TV competition. I thought that a movie about mixed martial arts was not going to be full of the same kinds of double-crosses and subtle message (not to mention 4-letter-words) that I both love and hate about David Mamet’s writing. However, half the movie is not about the fight but more about the circumstances (which seemed both natural and incredibly contrived at the same time — is that possible?) leading up to it. A twist occurs right before the fight and what should have been the climax goes on essentially without dialogue for a long stretch that culminates in an ending so unsatisfying that I feel like punching someone myself. Maybe after all of the underhanded, selfish characters that he’s created over the years Mamet no longer understands how to write a character with values and nobility. Even a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie ending is more believable than this. (2.5 out of 5)

24 down, 26 to go!


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