SRP $27.96 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SONY
 
SRP $38.96 2.35:1 DOLBY TrueHD 5.1 SONY
 

David Mamet's unusual(for him) martial arts drama, "REDBELT" is now available on dvd and blu-ray, from SONY. While most of Mamet's previous scripts have tended to take huge strides to stay away from predictable plotlines, "REDBELT" retreads many previous films of the martial arts genre, albeit, with Mamet's noir-ish style. The owner of a martial arts gym spends his time giving instruction and pseudo-spiritual advice to his students but never excelling into the bigger stages of the martial arena himself, until the costs of living push him into entering into a martial arts tournament with more than a few surprises.  While there are some great lines of dialogue and a few surprising performances(Tim Allen is certain to surprise many), much of the film's narrative offers nothing new. Mamet directs and writes "REDBELT," and there's enough skill to keep one interested throughout, but it's not up there with his better work.

SONY has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the dvd(16:9 enhanced)and blu-ray(1080p/AVC MPEG-4) The blu-ray offers incredible detail throughout.  Colors vary in richness, although sometimes intentionally restrained due to the gritty design of particular scenes.  The dvd also offers fine color levels, but they're never as vibrant as the blu-ray presentation.  Black levels are terrific on the blu-ray, with great detail and impressive inky blacks. The contrast on the dvd is impressive, with darker scenes offering fine detail throughout. Both formats have a fair share of grain popping up, but it's more noticeable on the dvd.

SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 for dvd.  Both mixes offer great dynamic range, building up the film's atmosphere from the opening credits and throughout. However, with the exception of fight sequences, surrounds are typically restrained. Bass is used with great impact, however, it's more prominent on the Dolby TrueHD mix.  The subtle surround effects during non-fight scenes are more impressive on the Dolby TrueHD mix as well.

A Q&A with Mamet and some other extras are offered on both formats, but only die-hard fans of the film will find them worthwhile.