The Art of Self Defense sets a slow measured mood for its first hour. Patience is required before the explosive plot ignites in the second half. As long as the film deals with the meaning of masculinity and keeps focused on a plausible karate studio, the movie is fine. But as the unrelenting violence creeps into the story, the movie goes off its rails. Believability is thrown from the train as we get sucked into an unsatisfying ending. Yet Jesse Eisenberg is always a joy to watch. And this role of a meek accountant being mugged and how he becomes empowered to change his life, gives him a chance to draw the audience into this transition. There are moments where the director and writer may be onto something other than a glorified Fight Club rip off. Unfortunately, it is isn’t enough for me to recommend.