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Acclaimed director David Mamet has written Mike Terry (played with masterful restraint by Chiwetel Ejiofor) as an ex-soldier jujitsu instructor in Los Angeles who has eschewed martial arts competition as "shameful" according to his samurai code of honor, preferring instead to teach people how to "prevail" in their own lives. But, as Mike discovers, honor doesn't pay the bills. Nor do good deeds for that matter, as Mike also learns that the road to Hell often truly is paved with good intentions--in a confluence of unfortunate events spawned amid some perverse karmic backlash, every "good" deed Mike performs for others comes back to haunt him. Backed into a corner by life's misfortunes and the underhanded dealings of some sleazy martial arts promoters, Mike must put his own skill and honor on the line if he hopes to prevail against the malevolent forces arrayed against him. Mamet's expert-but-subtle direction is almost too understated at times, but his passion for the art of jujitsu and its philosophy really work to outshine any technical mis-steps, resulting in an excellent story well-told.

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This page contains a single entry published on December 18, 2008 5:03 PM.

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