Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Sep 23 2008David Mamet has always been preoccupied with aggressive competition between men, so it’s only natural that he should make a film about fighting. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mike Terry, a principled martial arts teacher who’s married to Sondra (Alice Braga), the daughter of a Brazilian fighting clan, and is too noble, or humble, or something, to compete. A series of bad turns involving a protégé, a jittery lawyer (Emily Mortimer), a dodgy movie star (Tim Allen) and his dodgier factotum (Joe Mantegna) raises the stakes, however, and before long that big-money contest is looking tempting…
Ejiofor (right) appears in nearly every scene and does a fine job with both the fighting and the slightly precious sermonising required of him, but Mamet has tackled these subjects – alpha-male rivalry, conjuring deception, threatened principles – before and to better effect. The plotting is contrived, the supporting characters two-dimensional, and the ending slides from predictable to absurd to maudlin.
Author: Ben Walters