Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set on the west side of the Los Angeles fight world, a world inhabited by bouncers, cage fighters, cops, and special forces types, Redbelt is the story of Mike Terry, a jujitsu teacher who has avoided the prize-fighting circuit, choosing instead to pursue an honorable life by operating a self-defense studio with a samurai's code. Terry and his wife, Sondra, struggle to keep the business running to make ends meet. On a dark, rainy night, an accident at the academy between an off-duty officer and a distraught lawyer puts in motion a series of events that will change Terry's life dramatically and introduce him to a world of promoters and to movie star Chet Frank. Faced with this, in order to pay off his debts and regain his honor, Terry must step into the ring for the first time in his life. (Sony Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 91
    The film unravels a bit in the last few moments, amid unanswered story questions and a simplistic climax, but until that moment, Redbelt is Mamet's richest film of the decade.
  2. Ejiofor brings a calm magnetism and a beatific serenity to his roles that have the effect of knocking you flat -- there's something about this guy that's messianic.
  3. Not everyone can act his material with ease. But Ejiofor, who brings a serene gravity to every exchange, was born to do Mamet.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An absorbing and colorful, if not particularly convincing, excursion into a demi-monde of fighters, scammers, promoters and self-styled modern samurai, Redbelt gives the impression of Mamet coyly toying with the idea of making a populist little-man-against-the-system sports melodrama without actually attempting to create a film for the masses.
  5. So how's the Mamet "Rocky"? Fast. Lively. In your face. Very watchable. And, like its predecessors, so bizarrely convoluted it barely holds together on a narrative level. But the underpinnings are consistent.
  6. In the end, Redbelt prevails, just as Terry teaches his students to prevail, but getting there isn't always pretty.
  7. 40
    Mamet's trademark artificial, mutual-incomprehension dialogue and con-game plotting are ineptly matched to the action genre (and feel stale in any case), while the jiu-jitsu scenes are so incoherently shot and edited you can't tell if the fight choreography is any good or not.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. GeorgeM
    Sep 2, 2008
    This is the strangest martial arts movie I've ever seen, its not some chop socky mess with a silly story and 1-dimensional characters, this is a complex film with a deep sense of character development.....its a personal journey for the "hero" AND the viewer as well. The is a film about morals, honor, and the human spirit that for some, simply CANNOT be broken.....our hero seems to think about everyone but himself, and no matter how hard he tries to help other people it tends to backfire in his face but his intentions are pure and true. This is a man you really want to see succeed, its hard watching bad things happen to such a good person who means well in everything he does.....and while it ends rather abruptly with MANY questions left unanswered and the well-being of our hero a little "open" still manages to end like the 4th of July with a triumphant personal victory. This is a wonderful film about the "deeper" side of martial arts, the courage of someone that simply CANT be held down by the outside world, and the good that can be found in a ugly ugly world. BUY Never Back Down (then get hypnotized to forget about it), and be happy with your decision......i'm sure youll understand what i mean after youve seen both. Expand
  2. RyanP
    May 12, 2008
    Excellent movie. There aren't that many dramas which explore the TRUE meaning of the martial arts. I appreciate this since I'm a martial arts student myself. Expand
  3. AdrianM
    Aug 8, 2008
    Best MMA film to date. Good character development and quite an unexpected ending. Glad Therry did not just walk away like most people would have rathered. Remember, Therry is a fighter at heart and sometimes you just have to fight. Expand
  4. AustinW.
    May 3, 2008
    This movie was one of the weirdest movies I've seen in a long time, and not intentionally. It's basically The Spanish Prisoner meets Never Back Down. It's got giant plot holes (to the point where things don't make sense) but the scenes of brilliance make i t worth it. Ejiofor is outstanding. Expand
  5. MarcusA
    May 21, 2008
    Why is it that when I see a Mamet written and directed movie, i always come away with the impression that it was written and directed by a first time writer / director. The so called "twists and turns" are telegraphed well in advance, and the actors' delivery is consistently choppy and one-dimensional. I don't think that the actors lack skill, but that instead the direction they're receiving is amateurish. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I should just should just lower my expectations if I know that Mamet is writing / directing, then I won't be disappointed. Expand
  6. JayHiggins
    Aug 24, 2008
    I am obviously in the minority on this one, but what can I say, the movie just didn't interest me. I simply couldn't get into it. The cast was okay, Emily Mortimer however was great. Boring. Expand
  7. SteveR.
    May 19, 2008
    I cannot believe how badly this film misses the mark. Mamet brings high expectations. This film has chasm wide holes. People who betray at the last moment. People who disengage for no reason, people who slap and love with no investment. If not for Ejiofor and Alllen, this film was atrociously written and poorly acted. Mamet's worst effort by a wide margin and inexcusable given his knowledge of the subject. Randy Couture stutters every first line. What a fiasco, and I cannot believe the Metacritic score, i have never been so far off. 20 years from now, some films rise and gain cult status, mark my words, this will gain Showgirls status. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews