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Reviewed on 2008-05-14
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreAction / Drama
Writer-director David Mamet (“The Spanish Prisoner,” “The Winslow Boy” and “The Verdict”) is a scriptwriting genius. He is at the top of his game with this thinking-person’s “Rocky.”

Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor from “Kinky Boots” and “Dirty Pretty Things”) is a jiu-jitsu instructor who adapts the samurai’s code of honesty, honor and loyalty.

An accident at his self-defense studio on a dark, rainy night involving an off-duty police officer and a distraught female lawyer sets in a motion a series of events that thrust Mike into the professional mixed-martial arts fighting arena.

There are many cleverly conceived twists and turns in this suspenseful drama. The puzzle pieces of a central con game ultimately come together with a climactic revelation.

Ejiofor gives a masterful performance as a pawn in a money-making scheme. He expresses the moral conflict faced by his character through his facial expressions and body language.

The smart dialogue, an understated musical score and a strong supporting cast of Mamet regulars (David Paymer, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon and Ricky Jay) are additional strengths that make for an enjoyable viewing experience.

Review By:
Keith Cohen, The Movie Guy

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