Quote: “There is no situation you can not escape.” – Mike Terry
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen, Randy Couture
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Originally Released: May 9, 2008
Watched: September 19, 2008 via Netflix
Ebert Rating: ***
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%
My Netflix Rating: *** (Liked It)
Self-Defense Brazillian Jiu-jitsu instructor Mike Terry falls upon hard financial times and finds himself caught in a sick web of deception far beyond his control and is forced to enter an MMA tournament to desperately come up with the cash he needs. What’s a man to do in his situation? The right thing, of course.
The film itself told a nice story about always doing the right thing, no matter what. Terry’s character is very admirable and despite all the chaos going on around him he always chose to do what was right — not what was popular. For that I give the film a thousand kudos. The actual storytelling was a bit hit or miss as the layers of plot got a little tricky to follow. The action sequences were pretty cool although I miss my Jet Li and Jackie Chan styled fighting but BJJ is a bad @$$ system in its own right which (as seen in the film) can easily dislocate an elbow or choke a person out in seconds.
The DVD contained the following set of standard features, all great and fun:
- Commentary Track with David Mamet and Randy Couture
- “Behind the Scenes of ‘Redbelt'” Documentary: 19 minutes. Standard behind the scenes documentary featuring thoughts from the production staff and cast.
- “Inside Mixed Martial Arts” Documentary: 18 minutes, 52 seconds. History of BJJ, UFC and NHB competition.
- Q&A with Director David Mamet: 26 minutes. Publicly moderated interview with David Mamet
- An Interview with Dana White: 16 minutes, 52 seconds. Dana White talks about the early days of the UFC, the challenges in getting UFC on TV, how and why MMA has gone mainstream and the necessity of being a well-versed fighter who knows a little bit of every style.
- Fighter Profiles: 4 minutes, 11 seconds. Profiles of the martial arts legends in the film including: Renato Magno, John Machado, Dan Inosanto, Randy Couture, Ray Mancini, Enson Inoue, Rico Chiapparelli
- The Magic of Cyril Takayama: 4 minutes, 36 seconds. Magician Cyril Takayama talks about his life in magic and his role in the film.
- Theatrical Trailer
The film tells a great story. It is possible to maintain your dignity and integrity in the face of adversity when it is easier to go with the flow. The fight scenes are great and so is the story. The storytelling is alright. Overall, it’s a film worth watching for sure.
Is the DVD worth buying? If you’re a MMA fan I’d say it’s a must-buy. The interviews with Dana White and the documentaries on MMA are great and well done so if you’re a MMA person definitely go out and buy this. If you’re not a MMA person then I say flip a coin.