'Redbelt' not Manet's best

After four years away from the screen Mamet returns with a film that is flawed and far from his usual brilliance … but, then, a Mamet film is always to be welcomed - however damaged it might be.

Director: David Mamet

Cast: Tim Allen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emily Mortimer, Sondra Terry

Cert: 15

After four years away from the screen Mamet returns with a film that is flawed and far from his usual brilliance … but, then, a Mamet film is always to be welcomed - however damaged it might be.

Here he goes beyond and beneath what at first glance seems to be just another martial arts film and into a world of honour and idealism with a central character, Mike Terry (Ejiofor), who runs a gym on the strict ethic of teaching but never competing.

His wife, Alice (Terry), and her family think he is obsessed with poverty and are frustrated that he doesn’t use his skills in competition to earn the money needed to save the gym.

Circumstances, of course, eventually force the dreaded decision on him and leave us with a film whose parts don’t quite combine satisfactorily … it is, in many ways, a sort of Rocky actioner without the action.

But a Mamet film is a Mamet film.

Star Rating: 3/5

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