"The Warrior’s Code Meets Mamet"
What You Need To Know:
REDBELT is a solid movie. The story is engaging. The characters are strong. The direction is straightforward. The script, apart from the excessive foul language, is nearly perfect in form. The movie has drama, action, romance, betrayal, and redemption. The movie’s biggest problems are typical for an R-rated action movie like this one – lots of strong foul language and strong violence. There are also some light elements of false Eastern religion dealing with the martial arts. Thus, despite strong moral elements, REDBELT requires extreme caution. Please see movieguide.org for more information.
(PaPa, FR, B, LLL, VV, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Mostly mixed, strong pagan worldview with some light elements of false Eastern religion dealing with the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu, but also with some strong moral ethics and the warrior’s code of living with honor, truth and respect even against immoral people who conspire against a person; 39 very strong obscenities and three profanities; strong violence includes martial arts and competitive fighting with punching, kicking, chokeholds, wrestling with some bloodshed in certain fights, gunshot, bar fight between a couple guys with knife and some broken bones, police officer commits suicide, woman tells how she was raped; implied sexual content includes rape discussed, some married kissing; naturalistic upper male nudity and brief shot of woman in lingerie; beer, liquor, wine consumption depicted and implied drunkenness in bar scene; cigarette smoking, cigar smoking, and woman is addicted to anti-depressants and prescription medication; and, lying, conspiracy, blackmail, theft, one reference to a racial grudge match, gambling, and suicide.
REDBELT, the latest offering from famed writer David Mamet, tells the story of Mike Terry, a teacher of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who lives with a warrior’s code of ethics and who has avoided the sport of competitive mixed martial arts. However, after he becomes the target of a blackmail scheme, he is forced to enter a competition to protect the purity of the art to which he has dedicated his life.
Struggling to keep their martial arts academy open, Mike (Chewitel Ejiofor) and his wife, Sondra (Alice Braga), barely make it from week to week. Yet, whenever the opportunity arises for Mike to compete in a mixed martial arts tournament for some big cash prizes, he refuses. Rather than using his training for commercial purposes, he chooses to keep to the honorable, samurai code by training others in self-defense.
Through a series of circumstances, however, Mike is soon swept up into the cutthroat world of Hollywood producers and big business fight promoters. The producers want to use Mike’s abilities for their latest martial arts feature and the fight promoters want to steal Mike’s idea for a pay-per-view event. Caught up in a conspiracy to destroy his honor and a blackmail plot to destroy his academy, Mike must step into a competitive ring for the first time in his life in order to regain his honor and defend everything he holds sacred.
REDBELT is a very solid movie. The story is engaging. The characters are strong. The direction is straightforward. The script, apart from the excessive foul language, is nearly perfect in form. The movie has drama, action, romance, betrayal, and redemption. There is one plot element that seems to come out of left field and feels forced, dramatically, but in nearly every way other imaginable, REDBELT is a brilliant, 4-star-quality movie.
As far as content, however, REDBELT requires extreme caution. The chief negative element is the movie’s excessive foul language. Writer David Mamet, whose credits include THE UNTOUCHABLES, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, HOFFA and HANNIBAL, is a great dramatist. He understands plot, pacing and drama better than most of his contemporaries, but he has always been known for having a limited vocabulary when it comes to curse words. In REDBELT, Mamet proves, to the script’s detriment, that the “f” word can be used as every part of speech. With 39 very strong obscenities, almost all of which are “f” words, this otherwise great movie suffers.
There is also some violent content, especially during the fight sequences with some bloodshed, but it is not very graphic. The movie does have some false eastern religion with its Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu content, so people of faith and values must take care.
On the positive side, the movie does have a strong moral tone. For example, Mike stands by his code of ethics and his honor when he is confronted by the conspiracy and blackmail of the villains. Mike is also willing to sacrifice himself for others and for the martial art to which he has devoted his life. Of course, Jesus Christ is a far better object of devotion and worship for us, so don’t waste your life putting all your efforts into self-defense techniques like Jiu-Jitsu.
All in all, REDBELT is an excellent entertainment with some light moral and redemptive content, but it suffers from lots of fighting violence, a flawed worldview and excessive strong foul language. There are many other great movies out there in theatres and on home video that have strong stories, great characters and less objectionable content. To find out more about those great, faith-filled, quality movies, please go to www.movieguide.org.