Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.
Release Date: March 14th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving intense sequences of violence, some sexuality, partying and language - all involving teens.
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
JJ Rating: C+
Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) causes trouble with his need to beat people up who mention his dad and his follies. His family moves to another city so Charlie (Wyatt Smith) can have a chance at tennis and to get Jake away from trouble. But instead of moving away from trouble, he is moved closer to it. Never Back Down.
As the title suggests this movie is a poor man’s The Karate Kid and Fight Club melded into one. There’s a group of kids that fight for the sake of fighting and the glory of the fun, and there is Jake who trains with Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou) for a tournament. It reeked of copy and paste from movies past.
What was good about it? Sean Faris was in a show that I really liked because it was a guy drama that guys would understand and it was called “Life as We Know It”. He can act. He just hasn’t been in the right movie. I feel like I’m on American Idol for movies. Anyway, if he were not the lead it would have made the movie far worse. Dijmon Hounsou was the best actor in the entire film. He just blew everyone out of the water. He had the right intensity, emotion and believability for his part. Leslie Hope played the mother and she was not good. I don’t know what was going on but she was not believable in her role—at all. Ryan McCarthy the rival was played by Cam Gigandet and I have to say that Cam needs to find roles that don’t deal with brooding males. That’s all it seems he’s capable of; though I have to say he was every bit as evil as he needed to be and that is great for this role.
I am happy that there was no unnecessary sex scene just because. So that bumped the grade up a bit.
The fights were awesome. That has to be the other reason to see it. They knockout kicks with the slow motion of the face being slapped by a quick foot is cool looking; no matter how cringe worthy it may be. If you are looking for something that shows cool fights this movie will please in that aspect.
Never Back Down is an interesting title to this movie. It does show that a title can tell you call kinds of things about the movie. This title says how uncreative the movie will be and that would be correct. It dragged. The scene where Jake goes to a tennis match should have been more emotional and heartfelt instead of cold and calculating as it was. The only thing this movie seemed to have together was the fighting; everything else was emotionless.
Never Back Down I will not own and I don’t really particularly ever want to see again. If I want to see it I’ll spend 4 hours watching The Karate Kid and Fight Club instead.