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RED BELT: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a martial arts teacher who owns a jujitsu studio in Los Angeles. Honour is what is most important to Mike and although he needs the money, he will not enter competitions as it counters his life philosophy. His wife Sondra (Alice Braga) keeps the business afloat by siphoning money into it from her own successful business. Mike spends time working with LA cop Joe Collins (Max Martini) and tries to help the emotionally frail lawyer (Emily Mortimer) who finds her way to his studio one night, but it's his protection of action star Chet Frank (Tim Allen) that changes Mike's luck.

Review by Louise Keller:
I'm always ready for another David Mamet story, a sure guarantee for good writing, an enigmatic plot and characters that grab us. In this latest one, although the central theme may be jujitsu, the main event is the fight that is held outside the ring. Chiwetel Ejiofor is charismatic as the man who is too pure to compete but whose philosophy is that there is no situation from which you cannot escape and turn to your advantage. Those who are familiar with Mamet's works may spot the twist before it happens, but in any event, there's plenty to keep the grey matter focused in this complex drama as done deals are not what they seem and conspiracy, blackmail, bribes, death and principles swirl together in a mesmerising melange.

Ejiofor plays Mike Terry, the purist fighter who lives his life under his own strict rules. Money plays no part in his plan and he is willing to let his designer wife Sondra (Alice Braga) manage the financials of his struggling jujitsu business. Mamet regulars Ricky Jay ('We need a gimmick or else it's two monkeys in the ring') and wife Rebecca Pigeon (as wife of Tim Allen's Hollywood movie star Chet Frank) are welcome additions to the cast and whose presence have impact into the advent of the story curve.

At times we feel as though the story is just too clever, but most of the time we able to keep abreast of the events as they occur - from Emily Mortimer's troubled attorney to Max Martini's hard-working cop Joe Collins and Allen's self-loathing Chet - as they form a foundation for the revelation to the film's final fight. This is a connoisseur's film that requires concentration, but the rewards are rich.

DVD special features include commentary with David Mamet and fighter Randy Couture, various featurettes, an interview with Dana White and a Q&Q with David Mamet.

Published June 4, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

RED BELT: DVD (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Max Martini, Matt Cable, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alice Braga, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Emily Mortimer, Cathy Cahlin Ryan

PRODUCER: Chrisann Verges

DIRECTOR: David Mamet

SCRIPT: David Mamet

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Elswit

EDITOR: Barbara Tulliver

MUSIC: Stephen Endelman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Wasco

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary with director David Mamet and Randy Couture. Featurettes: Behind-the-scenes of Redbelt, Inside Mixed Martial Arts, Fighter Profiles, The Magic of Cyril Takayama, An Interview with Dana White, Q&A with David Mamet

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

DVD RELEASE: March 25, 2009







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