Do not watch this trailer for David Mamet’s ultimate fighting opus, Redbelt, unless you’re keen to have the entire film spoiled. Almost every major plot twist is revealed, as well as what’s intended to be the money shot during the final fight. While I sympathize with Sony Pictures Classics’ difficulty in selling a dialogue-heavy movie about martial arts, I’m quite confident they could’ve sold the film without adopting Bob Zemeckis’s “show-it-all” philosophy.
As I wrote in my 5/15/07 Crop Report, Redbelt concerns “a principled martial arts instructor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) struggling to keep his modest dojo operational succumbs to the lure of Hollywood.” The words “Chiwetel Ejiofor” and “David Mamet” should be sufficient to get your butt in the theater, but I’ll entice you further: “Alice Braga”, “Ricky Jay” and “Joe Mantegna”. The involvement of Mantegna should be exciting for Mamet heads, as this is the original Ricky Roma’s first first film collaboration with the writer-director since 1991’s brilliant Homicide. What gives with the seventeen year layoff, fellas?
Though I dug Redbelt‘s screenplay, the major question looming over the film is this: Can Mamet deliver the hand-to-hand combat goods? I thought the action in Spartan was passable, but we’ve yet to see Mamet shoot the protracted bare-knuckle stuff. It’s a skill that some people can’t cultivate.
Mamet will wallop us with his best shot on April 25th. Interesting date there, SPC.