So I’ve got two man movies for you. They both are about fighters, they both explore what it means to be a man, and they both will get your adrenaline pumping while paying a lot of attention to character development.
First up, a movie you probably haven’t even heard of for some reason: Redbelt. Written and directed by David Mamet. Mamet wrote one of my top 5 favorite movies, The Edge. He’s a bit inconsistent in my book, a few excellent films and several that are less than B but Redbelt is great all around–well written, well acted, well filmed.
Redbelt is the story of Mike Terry, a jiu-jitsu b.a. who runs a studio in Los Angeles. Mike is a world-class fighter who refuses to compete. He believes competition for money weakens the fighter and adulterates the fight. The most fascinating thing about Mike’s character is his unwavering code of honor and his relentless self-discipline.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a man with the focus and conviction Mike’s character displays and that’s why I was immediately drawn in to the story–because Redbelt is about a man of great strength who is tested in every way and whose principals are questioned on every front. Mike’s steadfast role is contrasted with the character of almost every other person in the movie.
In the end Mike is finally cornered into a competition by money-trouble. At the arena his character is tested and he faces his greatest challenge. Obviously, I won’t tell you what happens but the ending is unpredictable and extremely well-executed. If you want a movie that leaves you thinking for a long time afterward and challenges you to assess your own character, this is it.
Next up, Warrior. It’s much more likely that you’ve heard of or seen Warrior but if you haven’t, get on it. Warrior is a movie about men. The film takes the characters of a father and two sons and, through their struggles, says something about all men.
The three-man family Warrior centers on is volatile to say the least. I grew up in household in which the first six siblings were boys so I know all about putting holes in the walls but the combination of an alcoholic dad and fight-trainer (Paddy Conlon), all-star wrestler and marine (Tommy), and MMA fighter (Brendan) guarantee the Conlon family would win in terms of destruction and violence.
By the time we see them in the film, Paddy is a recovering alcoholic who’s found religion, Tommy is a haunted ex-marine, and Brendan is a jobless father and husband who can’t think of a better way to provide for his family than returning to the amateur MMA scene. Needless to say, the shared past of these three men is just bubbling beneath the surface waiting for the events that comprise Warrior to occur and bring it all to the light.
Tommy enlists his dad, whom he holds a huge amount of anger toward, to train him for a big MMA tournament. This same tournament offers the prize Brendan hopes to earn for his family. So, inevitably, the two brothers are pitted against each other in a fight that is very important to both and very intense to watch.
Excellent character development, fight scenes that draw you in completely, and the story of three men that will, again, leave you considering your own character, demons, and the fighter that is in every man’s heart–all are reasons you should watch this movie.
If you watch them, comment and tell us what you think about the movies. Enjoy.