I – – Went – – to – – see – – The Art – – of – – Self Defense (Movie Review)

The Art of Self Defense Movie ReviewSo as you know I – – went – – to see – – The Art – – of – – Self Defense.  And it – – was – -great! To give you guys a little insight… I had no idea this film was coming out. My expectations for this film were quite low due to my ignorance of its existence. This has proven to be a pretty good strategy when it comes to viewing films though. Going into a film with an open mind, free of preconceived notions, or hype, allows you to truly take in what you’re watching. What I was watching was some pretty good stuff. Due to not watching any trailers or reading about this film at all I was shocked and surprised at how well-crafted and detailed the film was. Well – – lets see – – what – – it’s all – – about!

The Art of Self Defense is an action/comedy/drama/thriller written and directed by Riley Stearns, known for his feature film Faults (2014) and his comedy short The Cub (2013). I am not familiar with Stearns work, but after watching The Art of Self Defense I am much more interested in watching his aforementioned works. Starring in the film we have Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Philip Andre Botello, David Zellner and a few other folks. The Art of Self Defense is co-produced by Camille Bertrand and Lisa Ciuffetti, produced by, father, Walter Kortschak, and son, Andrew Kortschak, who are both credited as producers on the film Cop Car (2015), and lastly Cody Ryder and Stephanie Whonsetler, who are both credited as producers for the film The Clovehitch Killer (2018). This is a pretty stacked team! Now – – lets – – talk – – more about  – – the film.

The Art of Self Defense Movie Review

Being a practitioner of the martial arts myself I found the title of this film intriguing. What I thought was going to be a straight comedy about self defense classes turned out to be much more. The set up for the story plays off of the usual mindset many individual’s seeking self defense classes find themselves, helpless and afraid. For me I to pursued martial arts training because of the influence of sword anime and being constantly bullied at school, pretty typical, for others it is an attack on the street. For Casey (Eisenberg) the latter was the case. As I watched the scene of Casey (Eisenberg) getting attacked by the motorcycle gang I couldn’t help, but feel right there with him. Jesse Eisenberg, for me, plays the same character in most of his films. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”… except in Batman V Superman (2016)… never again. However, Jesse Eisenberg’s acting in The Art of Self Defense, and the way he is directed, works! The scenes depicting the happenings inside the dojo are pretty accurate aside from some scenes that are heightened for story and entertainment… or are they? Okay deep breath everyone. Good. Now lets look further.

As mentioned before we follow the martial arts journey of our protagonist Casey (Eisenberg) after being brutally attacked on the street by a motorcycle gang. After a significant amount of time recovering  Casey explores avenues in which to defend himself and become more “masculine”. It is during this search that Casey happens upon the Karate dojo. It is at the dojo where we are introduced to Sensei (Nivola) who takes Casey on as a student to help him “become what he fears”. It is only through Casey’s determination to “become what he fears” and the advice from student/instructor Anna (Poots) that Casey starts to discover there is more to this dojo than just making your punches feel like kicks and your kicks feel like punches. Alright. Well done guys. Now let’s cool down.

The Art of Self Defense Movie Review

Overall this film was an unexpected pleasure. The humor is dry, subtle, and expositional in parts much like The Dead Don’t Die (2019) while the action was intense and impactful like Stuber (2019). The Art of Self Defense gives us a tight story with sympathetic characters and not to mention an interesting commentary about the world of self defense classes and those who participate in them. If you want to head to the theater and check this one out then go! It is a slow burn, but definitely keeps you eager to see what happens next. Trust me – – you – – will – – want – – to stick around – – for the end!

The Art of Self Defense Movie Review

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