Ejiofor remains a supremely assured, charismatic presence, though he has his work cut out here. He is pitted against a film with a black belt in pomposity and a gold medal in preening self-regard.
What is memorable is the film's portrait of a man of honor in a sleazy world, possibly a metaphor for the struggle of the artist to stay honorable in a world of backbiting, betrayal and hunger for easy money.
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.
Like everything Mamet touches, whether predominantly comic or dramatic, this stern cautionary tale concerns whom we can trust (ourselves, if we live by a few simple, honorable rules of conduct) and whom we cannot (others, especially if they're in the film
Incompetently made and covered in corn, this is a martial arts movie that makes you yearn for The Karate Kid. Yes, that movie was corny, as well, but at least it was fun. Redbelt isn't fun, just laughable.
In the story of a purist-minded jiu-jitsu instructor trying to keep his distance from the vulgar commercialism of arena-style martial arts competition, David Mamet may have found the ideal metaphor for his own relationship with mainstream Hollywood.