First Look: Chiwetel Ejiofor in David Mamet's Redbelt
by Alex Billington
January 15, 2008
Ever since I saw Serenity for the very first time, I've been amazed by Chiwetel Ejiofor. He's an incredibly capable actor full of talent but has never really been allowed to show his full potential. He was great in Children of Men and Talk to Me and was one of the finer aspects of American Gangster, but he still hasn't had his big break. One of his upcoming films is Redbelt, written and directed by Oscar nominated longtime screenwriter David Mamet of State and Main, Heist, and Spartan. In Redbelt, Ejiofor plays Mike Terry, a mixed-martial arts instructor who refuses to compete in professional fights but instead trains students in the art of self-defense.
Send some love to ComingSoon for nabbing these photos. It's a great introduction to a movie that I really didn't care about until now.
In the film, Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is the chief instructor at the Southside Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Although a talented fighter, he refuses to compete in professional bouts: "Competition weakens the fighter." Instead he trains dedicated students in the art of self-defense: bodyguards, cops, soldiers. At his brother-in-law's club one evening, Mike saves a famous action star, Chet Frank, (Tim Allen) from a severe beating. His defense of Frank leads to a job in the film industry, but other events conspire to force Mike to participate in a prize fight. An American samurai film set in the world of mixed martial arts, Redbelt is a story about the limits of a single man's integrity. Alice Braga, Emily Mortimer, Rodrigo Santoro, Rebecca Pidgeon and Randy Couture co-star.
As much as I love Chiwetel Ejiofor and as much as I want this to be his big break, I think Redbelt won't be it, nor will it be that good. However, IMDb say it's not a comedy, which is the first thing that pops in my mind when I hear of Tim Allen. If that's true and this is a straight-up action comedy, then maybe, just maybe, this could end up good. But I'll wait for a trailer first before I judge this any more. Redbelt is set to arrive sometime in 2008.
When was the last time a martial arts action comedy did well at the box office? I can't think of it, forgive me Jackie Chan. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a great actor, but I don't see this doing too well unless it is a kiddie movie targeted at the same group that sees every single Tim Allen Santa Clause movie, in which case it might ok at the box office. I want this to be good, (I want every movie to be good...) but my hopes aren't too high.
Keith on Jan 15, 2008
Just a small comment: Mamet has used a comedy actor before for a serious role -- remember Steve Martin in "The Spanish Prisoner".
John on Jan 15, 2008
"He's an incredibly capable actor full of talent but has never really been allowed to show his full potential." DIRTY PRETTY THINGS................. LOOK IT UP. This is a film site right?
JC on Jan 15, 2008
I am right there with you, Alex. Ever since I saw "Serenity" I have LOVED Ejiofor. He shines in every role I've ever seen him play. "Dirty Pretty Things" is great. Seriously great. Plus you get the added bonus of seeing Audrey Tautou in one of her finest roles, as well! If you're not averse to gay comedies, then I would also recommend "Kinky Boots," in which Ejiofor gives a great performance as a drag queen.
Lawrence on Jan 15, 2008
LOL!! Mamet as is the average everyday man's "MMA action comedy" sic writer FTW!!!!!
Coch on Jan 15, 2008
Rumour has it lucky Chiwetel had Audrey Tautou chasing him for a long time afterwards. Lucky sod
Billy on Jan 27, 2008
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