Movie Review: The Art of Self-Defense

October 21, 2020

Details from IMDB:

The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

| | ActionComedyCrime | 19 July 2019 (USA)
After being attacked on the street, a young man enlists at a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei, in an effort to learn how to defend himself from future threats.


 Riley Stearns


 Riley Stearns



Initial Thoughts:
You may have guessed it already, yes another promo code used on Cineplex for this movie. As much as I appreciate all the free movies, the site doesn’t always have a lot I’m interested in. So this had Jesse Eisenburg and the rating was ok, so we gave it a watch.
Main Points:
Right off I have to say this movie is bizarre. It’s just chock full of crazy characters, weird and uncomfortable situations, violence and some disturbing shit. Eisenberg does a good job here, he’s really one of the only things that make the film watchable.
I did martial arts for a long time, I did Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and mixed martial arts called Jeet Kune Do (hell I even briefly did wrestling). My point is I know about martial arts, classes, the mindset, meditation, the exercises, a lot of what goes into a martial art. So I’m always curious to see how a movie or TV show will deal with it.
After about a half-hour in I realized this movie takes martial arts to an extreme (and deadly) place that only criminals or someone with real problems would ever go. All that said this does have some excellent (though very brutal) fight scenes. It also has some funny moments but they are mixed in with so much sad and disturbing content, that most of the time it’s hard to laugh.
I won’t spoil the plot as there are some big twists I didn’t see coming, I actually found the end to be good and I did have a somewhat enjoyable experience watching this.
Final Thoughts:
I’ll stress right away, please don’t let your kids watch this. Ages 19+ for gore, violence, nudity and just really messed up stuff. I found myself liking this at the end, but only a little. I give it 6.5 out of 10 and would only recommend to the most extreme martial arts or Jesse Eisenburg fans. If they had just made Eisenburg’s character a little more relatable, it would have been a better film.