This was a film we sat down to watch on a Sunday morning. Some might find that an odd time for movie viewing but it’s just how it happened; kids quiet, pup asleep, the opportunity presented itself. There being no mass to tempt us, why not settle in front of the box?

Fight films are not what I watch as a matter of choice, Fight Club being the sole exception in recent years. But this, written and directed by David Mamet, proved to be a powerful social drama in which the central character tries to walk a straight path, pays his way, respects the dignity of others, seeks to screw nobody and ends up being crapped on by just about everyone he comes into contact with.

A martial arts theme runs throughout but of a different order from what we were used to as teenagers through Bruce Lee films. This was Jiu-Jitsu rather than Kung Fu and apart from the final minutes the invincible superiority of the heroic character that fight films tend to produce was kept off stage. In the average Kung Fu movie the violence is what keeps it interesting. In Redbelt the real tension was reserved for the plot. It could have been something else other than fighting that provided the backcloth. With a few tweaks to the plot racing would have done the job just as well.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial arts sport which is fuelled by the concept that a weaker opponent can overcome their more powerful adversary through the application of leverage positioning. This fighting technique becomes the central theme of the movie as the central character is drawn into a battle not of his making and decides to make a stand despite the precariousness of his position in the face of great odds.

Mike Terry, played superbly by Chiwetel Ejio, runs a Jiu Jitsu club where he teaches the fight game skill to cops and others. Cash is short and his cheques to suppliers begin to bounce. He tries to hold the line and has no interest in fighting competitively. Piece by piece the previous stability in his world loses its cement and begins to totter, always threatening to topple over.

The series of unfortunate coincidences experienced by Mike Terry soon begin to appear not so coincidental at all as a thread of manipulation and deceit weaves its way throughout the plot. Equipped with nothing approaching the Midas touch, Terry has soon run out of options and the debts continue to mount. He faces a situation where his wife tells him she has borrowed serious money from a loan shark who in turn claims to have borrowed it from sources that make him uncomfortable. He has no room to manoeuvre and needs the loan back. With a shortage of solutions, suicide for someone seems a certainty, if not for Terry then someone close to him.

Terry is the victim of a carefully put together conspiracy to draw him into competitive fighting although it is impossible for him to see it until too late. Corruption, scams, blackmailers, dodgy lawyers, fraudsters permeate. In the end a rape victim he taught self defence to is the sole stanchion upon which he can rest his troubled mind. But her mind is equally as troubled and for a while the film conveys the feel of drowning people reaching out to each other.

The strong element of predictability in this film, in terms of where its ultimate destination lies, is more than compensated for by the suspense and twists that punctuate throughout.


  1. did you go to saturday night mass AM-
    any good film is a pleasure to watch but its not easy to get a good movie now
    that old Quote never judge a film by its cover comes into play,
    the good characters are usually
    crapped on, from a great hight to.

  2. michaelhenry, it is usually your idols doing the crapping!
    It will be interesting to see how much crap flies out of them, when the Brits pull the leash regarding their cuts.

  3. sure they have jobs for life now like those in the Dail. there shud be a reelin in the years for nordy's so we can see the SF-ers in 50yrs time makin the same balls of things too.

  4. Apparently Mc Guinness is devastated by the 4 billion cuts to here. (Never quite know what to call this place anymore, Connor Murphy calls it 'here' so I've got that one right)
    He appears to think, the Brits stitched them up!
    Wonder who they will stitch up to appease the brits?

  5. Aye Nuala and not a mention of the great psf initative, no mention of greedy bankers and why not when he and his mates are greedy #ankers

  6. The British government breaking promises our leaders finding out they have no say when it comes to dividing up the money.
    According to the Brit figures Norn Iron is getting a good deal and we should be grateful.
    As Peter and Marty try and pull an Oliver Twist “please sirs may we have some more.”
    Trying to sound convincingly innocent as if they were unaware of the severe proposed cuts the irony as the liars are calling the other liars , liars not exactly a good sign of faith in our government.

    Mr McGuinness said Mr Paterson had delivered "very unpleasant news"
    "We've made it clear to the British government consistently that we expect the commitments that we made, the financial package agreed with the previous administration to be honoured and from what I'm hearing today, it does not look as if they intend to honour it.
    "So we're going to be involved in a bit of a battle with the British government on this issue over the coming period."
    Interesting Marty would use the term “a bit of a battle.” Sounds a bit halfhearted as the doom and gloom clouds grow darker when the powerless meet the powerful. I wonder who will win this bit of a battle?

  7. I hear Wayne Rooney wants to sign up for the all blacks,he heard they had great hookers

  8. only liverpool-
    iron maiden star bruce dickinson
    was the pilot of the plane which took liverpool f.c to italy for the
    europa league game against napoli
    wonder what the in flight entertainment was-

    heard two liverpool fans knifed in

  9. A plauge of wasters mla,s are on Hearts and minds waffling as usless politicans are want to do about the upcoming cuts, and not one of them has the balls to call on the people to take to the streets like the French,and the shower of shite across the border paying for bridges to be rebuilt that the brits blew up,only in Ireland folks.

  10. Nuala if you want to talk to the great(have sex with a tree, it works for me) bearded one about his plan to save us from the upcoming cuts then hon head for his new H,Q, the Balmoral Hotel, well its all in the family so to speak.the Sopranos never had it so good!!!!

  11. Marty, they even tried to discoursge people from refusing to pay water rates, Mr A Maskey told the public that non-payment would be futile and that they would only end up getting themselves blacklisted.
    He actually used the example of the rent and rate strike (which was extremely effective) to warn people against non-payment.
    Adams is doing his usual shite routine, 'hold fast', 'stick together' and 'see off these cuts'. Unfortunately he does not happen to explain, how we are supposed to do this.
    Recently, Sinn Fein claimed in the AndyTown, that their economic proposals were so sound that no-one had contradicted them.
    The words 're-hash, old ideas re-vamped, stolen, borrowed, too little too late,good if they had of been on the table two years ago,could translate into further economic hardship' were the views from economists and other political representatives, no contradictions there then!

  12. Nuala,

    SF in the South would have a better economic grasp than their more right colleagues in the North. And in the South also you will find among them a much stronger leaning to the left. The problem for them is that the Master ruined their economic appeal by his know nothing contribution to the leaders’ televised debate on RTE. Maybe one of the reasons he was not invited to the recent meeting of political leaders to discuss the economy. If someone knows nothing about the subject matter why waste time asking them to speak on it? And no matter how far they progress in terms of winning the argument down here as long as they remain in the tomb of the Master they will be subject to each and every lurch to the right in the quest for power. Morgan can be very good in making a case that does not rely on waffle and telling everybody to shut up lest they damage the peace process. O Broin was devastating in his critique of Europe. But all that will be lost because the Master will shove them into a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail if the opportunity presents itself.