Rated 3.0

The owner of a small Los Angeles jujitsu school (Chiwetel Ejiofor) resists fighting professionally for fear of sullying the purity of his martial art, but when circumstances embroil him with a strung-out lawyer (Emily Mortimer), a loan shark (David Paymer) and a big-time movie star (Tim Allen), his financial straits and moral compass point him in a distasteful direction. Writer-director David Mamet’s film has something of the flavor of a Robert Altman movie, especially in its high-pedigree cast and pinballing story, but Mamet’s rigid control over plot and his trademark mannered dialogue are the opposite of Altman’s semi-improvisational style. The movie is well-acted and briskly paced, albeit with a niggling sense that Mamet seems to think he’s dignifying the martial-arts genre by deigning to work in it.