The Art of Self-Defense (2019) - Comedy, Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



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.

IMDB: 6.7
Director: Riley Stearns
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola
Length: 104 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 44 out of 175 found boring (25.14%)

One-line Reviews (98)

It was just too slow paced, boring, overall stupidly and few funny moments and surprising twists just can't save it.

This film was very pretentious, unfunny and predictable.

So if you're sick and tired of all the mainstream movies - with a censored scenes, a defined line between a good and a bad and a predictable action scenes, then I strongly recommend you this one because is the opposite .

I enjoyed the movie , however, I wanted something more original from a premise like that , towards the end of the movie I felt something was off , I think the screenplay could have been way better , but anyway an entertaining movie that had its unforgettable moments.

One of the most boring movies I have ever seen, please give me my 2 hours back.

Absolutely worth watching .

And I understand the whole point was to deliver it in such a heavyhanded, meatheaded way, but sometimes sticking too loyally to your guns can just make a film borderline unwatchable.

The performances were intentionally dry which is fine but left me very bored.

It starts off slow, very slow, with your run of the mill underdog nerdy loner suffering the same predictable ills and unjust.

Good acting, that kept it from being a total waste of time, except that that probably made the unease I felt worse.

Was I missing something as this movie was very unfunny very boring and very stupid and very hard to watch due to how boring and slow it was

Another unfunny movie with pointless "male" nudity.

I'm not a fan of any of the cast, but the movie was an unexpected pleasure.

As long as they leave him alone for the most part, he's happy to go on with his frighteningly boring routine.

But the way he rises out of it is why the movie goes from boring Wes Anderson fantasy to kick-ass Fight Club absurdity.

At the beginning I thought the movie was similar to the karate kid, but it ended up being a really boring movie and the plot didn't make sense it also ended being a very graphic movie for example there where scenes where a man is beaten up and was kicked in the head.

worst movie ever .

If you have any inclination to Kafka, you'll find this movie enjoyable.

It is disturbing, but engaging as well.

A little slow at times and at least three scene could have been deleted with no ill effect.

On top of that and even more fascinating is night class student and daytime children karate instructor Anna (Imogen Poots).

A very very quirky movie that fits that Eisenberg style, but entertaining throughout.

There is something about how blunt it is that makes it incredibly entertaining.

The night classes are much more intense and Jesse discovers more than he bargained for as secrets of his sensei and fellow students come to light.

A little more gruesome than I'm used to, but I still enjoyed it.

The film blends comedic elements-sometimes light, sometimes dark-with character study and sociology in a 'Karate Kid' meets 'Fight Club' mashup that is delightfully entertaining the entire way through.

It's sick, cruel, unpredictable and realistic.

Not a Oscar-winning piece, but a very entertaining dark comedy around the trope of the peaceful/wimp character turned badass.

Sure, there were some funny moments, about four in the hour and a half, but the dark humor that comprised the utterly predictable last half of the was completely without irony and in the end, just meaningless.

We also know this isn't what Casey really wants, his desire to become what intimidates him doesn't fit, his battle to find a balance is fascinating to watch.

This is boring to the very end.

If Mr. Miyagi doesn't climb over the fence and make quick work of these brainwashed fighting machines, would the Jersey kid end up in an intensive care ward like Casey?

This movie is very slowly paced and odd.

Waste of time.

This is one that, given the reactions I'm seeing here, will probably achieve minor cult status, but overall, it's a witty joke with a good punch delivered in a droning monotone that goes on longer than it should.

Leaves the viewer wondering whether the protagonist is already a repressed psychopath, but there's little character development to inform the viewer on how or why the protagonist is placed in a mid-30s mundane life of loneliness and fear of confrontation to begin with.

Dull, Pointless...

An outstanding job of acting, coupled with a nicely written story really made this enjoyable.

The film can very from extremely engaging to quite dull, it can very from very interesting and impactful to simply (as the film itself often stated) 'borish' and quite slow.

Cruel, uncensored, unpredictable and realistic MASTERPIECE .

From the opening, the film is witty, comedic and downright entertaining.

Watch paint dry, instead.

One of the most pointless and stupid films...

One of the worst movies I have ever watched!!!!

Don't waste your time or money on this loser, there's a reason the ratings are in the cellar!!!!!

How the hell could Jesse Eisenberg be involved in such a waste of time?

Compelling start, dissappointing and unrealistic finish.

This is the worst movie ever.

terrible and pointless .

Very funny, odd and totally worth the watch.

Definitely not what you expected, but truly entertaining.

The plot is predictable and loosely ripped off from fight club etc.I don't know what else to say to be honest, it was strange and weirdly unnecessary.

Too slow, not funny at all!

It is actually a great think piece and quite entertaining.

This is a total waste of money and was painful to complete watching - kept thinking it would improve!

Good cast and story but the storytelling and how the movie begin is boring.

Dull mashup .

The characters assume their superficial societal roles in an absurdly matter of fact way that often leads to situations that are as hilarious as they are intense.

I was unsure about the closing stages of the film but it is certainly a remarkably entertaining and unique time.

Entertaining dark comedy well worth the watch .

Boring, Not (in the least bit) Funny .

Boring, ugly, uncomfortable, predictable, not at all funny .

However the writing and gender roles are getting a bit old to see this obvious slant of trying to convert chicks into acting like men and to top things off - actually giving them the title of main sensei at the end which is so predictable.

No dramatic music, no dramatic turn, no characters that makes you put your emotion into the movie, to me it was overall mundane.

The audience at south by Southwest left about 1/3 smiling and 2/3 of the audience looked just bored.

Enjoyed it from the beginning to the end, where it turns from being extremely funny to super dark and creepy towards the end!

I enjoyed it thoroughly!!

And while the plot itself is often predictable, the story plays out with such commitment to its own ridiculousness that it's still easy to appreciate.

The Art of Self Defense (2019) - 7.2Act 1 - 6.7Act 2 - 7.4Act 3 - 7.5 Jesse Eisenberg plays Casey, a very reserved and meek manCasey is attacked by a group of unknown men and this leads him down a new path of karateHe decides he needs to be more manlyI like the film grain and the look of the filmFilm takes shots at gun owners with facts and statistics which is greatDialogue and performances are very dry and straight forwardMovie exposes problems with toxic masculinity and makes fun of them in an over the top mannerMakes fun of fighting, guns and music choice as a sign of masculinityA few brutal momentsFilm starts getting darker as he joins the night classes and more bad things start to happen to CaseyCasey has been manipulated by SanseiFilm also attacks gender inequalityIt is revealed that Senesi and some of his students are responsible for the muggings and attacks that have been going on thus furthering Casey's internal conflictCasey kills a cop during one of the muggingsCasey then decides that he will challenge Sensei to a fight to the death but ends up shooting Sensei which is greatCasey takes control of the dojo and gets revenge for his dogCasey hands over the dojo to Anna a female who has been put down the whole filmFilm is void of laughter with a deadpan and cold feel in the charactersMovie hits home the nonsense of gender inequality for certain situationsFilm makes its point while also being entertaining and making senseWell made film that accomplishes its goal

The Sensei character is also so entertaining.

There is much confusion over how to be a man in today's world - what it means, how to act, how to control sparks of aggression, how to prevent the misuse of power.

It was enjoyable and unconventional to say the least.

A dark comedy that has twists and unexpected turns.

Jesse Eisenberg, as bland and expressionless and one-note as ever, gets a thrashing, then goes to a dojo for self-defense lessons, run by a demented Sensei who takes a real shine to him.

I saw the trailer on YouTube and really thought I would like this movie, turns out it was kind of slow paced and very monotonous.

It's all a gloriously relentless slow burn to the circle of fire climax.

This is easily one of the most fun, bizarre, unpredictable films I've seen all year and I adored it.

The dog food bag is empty.

Took a surprising turn, overall an entertaining dark comedy.

this is a disjointed, disoriented, perverse excuse for a "karate" movie.

all in all, even getting the "inside" jokes and having a few laughs, its still a bit dark and feels abit slow.

All I can say is that it was fairly predictable and made me really uncomfortable.

Jesse Eisenberg is in a very familiar role in this film, being the awkward guy we've seen him play many times before, but there is a darkness in him that plays throughout the movie and makes this character very unpredictable.

While the topic is somewhat interesting, misconceptions of masculinity/security through the misunderstanding of martial art principles, the delivery was quite poor, and at times it felt it was actually a directorial choice: predictable plot (from the opening 10min), kind of cardboard acting (even from actors that usually deliver)...

I didn't find it preachy at all, actually I thought it got it's point across in the best way possible - by being funny and entertaining.

Sadly my title says it all, some good actors but given just ok material, at to slower pace.

I hate slow paced films, and from the start up until 3/4 of the way, I was loving the conceptual story, but was cursing and swearing the slow dragged out pace that made the 104 min runtime feel like an eternity.


Not sure it's worth it, except to see what an unwatchable movie really looks like.

A witty, delightful and engaging fun-film.

I always skipped out on watching this movie because of the reviews that called this movie "pointless" and "unfunny" and I regret it.

Fans of dry humor are likely to enjoy this, but those who only laugh at broad slapstick will probably call it boring and stupid.

This is a complete waste of time and life.

Good start, but predictable by mid-stream .

The film is always entertaining and fun.

' Jesse plays a boring bookkeeper with no friends besides his pet dachshund.

Norton's character, as a cure for insomnia, regularly attends encounter groups, absorbing other people's pain, oftentimes, people with terminal illnesses, because he needs a good cry, a hug; and most of all, he needs an outlet to talk, to open up and share his feelings the way women do.

He is single, he has a boring job where his colleagues bully him, and he is physically weak.