Never Back Down (2008) Poster

Never Back Down (2008)

  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 36,375 votes 
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Sport
  • Release Date: 14 March 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 110 min
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Never Back Down (2008)


Never Back Down 2008tt1023111.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Never Back Down (2008)
  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 36,375 votes 
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Sport
  • Release Date: 14 March 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 110 min
  • Filming Location: Clermont, Florida, USA
  • Budget: $20,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $24,850,922(USA)(5 June 2008)
  • Director: Jeff Wadlow
  • Stars: Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou and Amber Heard
  • Original Music By: Michael Wandmacher   
  • Soundtrack: Rock Star
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
  • Plot Keyword: Fight | Club | Mixed Martial Arts | High School | Teen

Writing Credits By:

  • Chris Hauty (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Sean Faris gained 15 lbs. of muscle for his role.

Goofs: Continuity: When Jake goes to the gym after sticking up for Baja in the parking lot, he throws a kick to Roqua's head while he trains him, in which Roqua has to duck. Later in the movie, when he's training, it shows that he cannot kick that high.

Plot: At his new high school, a rebellious teen is lured into an underground fight club, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran. Full summary »  »

Story: At his new high school, a rebellious teen Jake Tyler is lured into an ultimate underground fighting club in a Backyard Fight, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran. After receiving threats to the safety of his friends and family, Jake seeks the mentoring of a veteran fighter, to train his mind and body for one final no-holds-barred elimination fight with his unrelenting personal nemesis and local martial arts champion Ryan McCarthy.Written by Anthony Pereyra {}  


Synopsis: Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) helps his high-school football team win an important game. A frustrated player from the opposing team makes taunts about Jake’s father, who died while driving drunk. Infamously-hot-tempered Jake starts a brawl with the opposing player. Spectators capture the brawl with mobile phones and video-cameras. Soon, the brawl is uploaded to YouTube.

Jake gets thrown off the team for brawling, but takes it in stride because he is leaving this school anyway. He and his younger brother Charlie (Wyatt Henry Smith) are moving with their widowed mom to Orlando, Florida where Charlie has received a tennis scholarship. The Tyler brothers are close despite Jake’s penchant for fighting and getting into trouble, which greatly upsets their mom (Leslie Hope).

At his new school, Jake has a hard time fitting in. He catches the eye of Baja Miller (Amber Heard), a pretty classmate who flirts with him. Later, Jake notices fellow student Max Cooperman (Evan Peters) getting beaten up on campus. Jake rushes to Max’s aid, only to discover that the "bullying" he disrupted was actually a street-kickboxing match. Everybody present, including Max, demands that the astonished Jake leave.

At school the next day, Max lets it be known that there are videos on the internet of Jake’s football brawl, which has gained him a positive reputation on campus. Max invites Jake to come and learn mixed martial arts with his instructor, while Baja invites Jake to a party at her boyfriend Ryan McCarthy’s mansion. Jake declines the former offer but accepts the latter. At McCarthy Manor that night, host Ryan (Cam Gigandet) – having seen the internet footage – challenges Jake to demonstrate his brawling prowess in a fight against…Ryan himself. When Jake refuses the challenge, letting Ryan know that Jake came to the party only because Baja invited him. Ryan kisses Baja in front of Jake to verify whose girlfriend she is. Jake realizes that he’s being set up, and attempts to leave – until Ryan makes taunts about the disgraceful death of Jake’s dad. An angry Jake accepts the challenge but is brutally defeated by Ryan. Baja appears disgusted with Ryan for continually beating on Jake, despite the fact that Jake was obviously down and out.

A day later, Max comes to Jake’s house, and repeats the invitation to come and learn Mixed Martial Arts from Max’s instructor, Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou). This time, Jake accepts. He meets Max at Roqua’s gym and is introduced to Roqua himself. Roqua briefly interviews Jake…who, he senses, is there for the wrong reasons. Nonetheless, Roqua allows Jake to train with him – both in class, and personally before classes – on the condition that Jake does not fight anybody for any reason outside the gym. Jake notices that Roqua apparently lives in the gym.

The night after Jake’s first training session, Baja comes over to his house to apologize for setting him up at the party. Jake quickly retorts after Baja tells him about her school life, saying "Does that mean I’m meant to feel sorry for you because you’re popular?" The next day, Baja confronts Ryan and breaks up with him on account that he beat Jake up. In his anger, he grabs Baja’s arm and refuses to let go, even after she pleads. Jake appears and attempts to stop it, only to which Ryan insults his late father, saying "You’re weak…like your old man…was". This insult has a negative impact on Jake’s training that afternoon. At the gym, he is too aggressive, and, Roqua, sensing this, tells him to go home to cool off. Max gives Jake a ride in his Ford Mustang. At a set of lights, three guys in a yellow Hummer relentlessly and annoyingly beep their horn at Max. Jake, still angry from Ryan’s insult, and spurred on by the repetitive horn, goes out to confront the three guys. He beats them all up on the street, and the footage is filmed by Max, and uploaded and spread throughout the internet. This further improves his social profile within the school, now being the second-most popular boy after Ryan.

The next training session, and unfortunately for Jake, Roqua sees that Jake has wounds on his knuckles which could have only come from fighting against his rules and banishes Jake from the gym. When Roqua goes grocery shopping, Jake confronts him and admits that Roqua was right: he signed up to train for the wrong reasons. Jake also tells Roqua the late Mr. Tyler’s story; evidently, Jake feels that his mother blames him for her husband’s demise. Roqua then tells his story: he had an younger brother, who was an excellent mixed-martial artist. One day in a bar, a local bully mouthed off at young Joseph, who was about to fight the bully himself. His brother won the brawl, only to be shot and killed by the bully’s friends. Jean’s father blames him for permitting the situation to escalate into violence which could have been avoided. Jean left home over that; he has not seen his father, or even set foot in Brazil, for the past seven years.

Jake declines to enter The Beatdown. When Ryan discovers this turn of events he invites Max to McCarthy Manor on false pretenses. There Ryan engages Max in combat and beats him brutally. Fearing for his friends’ safety, Jake reverses his decision and enters The Beatdown after all – only to face Ryan. Roqua hears of this as well, and confronts Jake with an ultimatum: Jake will never be allowed near the gym again if he even goes to The Beatdown, much less fights in it. Jake – realizing that Roqua is trying to prevent him from making the same mistake which Roqua himself made with his own father – answers that Roqua’s only mistake was not doing what Jake himself is about to do. Said mistake wasn’t brawling; it was evading the conflict at hand, rather than confronting and resolving it.

At The Beatdown, both Jake and Ryan reach the semi-finals. Then Ryan is disqualified for eye-gouging. In view of this, Jake taps out one second into his semi-final bout (because his purpose for entering The Beatdown to begin with is no longer present). Outside the club, Ryan attacks Jake and they have a spectacular brawl in the club parking lot. Ultimately Jake wins the fight. (In the 2 Disc and Blu Ray versions, there is a deleted scene where Ryan tries to challenge Jake to a rematch.) Jake replies to this by bringing to light the fact the fans are chanting for the rematch unsatified with the fight they just saw, and subsequently they want to watch just simply two guys "kill" each other and do not care about the sport itself. This would cause Ryan to realize he had basically been a puppet to gladitorial combat for the amusment of others and not the one on top and in control he thought he was. Angered and embarrassed he yells at the crowd and runs off.

Jake has won the respect of all his fellow students, up to and including Ryan. For the first time in a long while, Roqua closes the gym and goes to visit his family in Brazil.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Bill Bannerman known as co-producer
  • Craig Baumgarten known as producer
  • David Zelon known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Sean Faris known as Jake Tyler
  • Amber Heard known as Baja Miller
  • Cam Gigandet known as Ryan McCarthy
  • Evan Peters known as Max Cooperman
  • Leslie Hope known as Margot Tyler
  • Djimon Hounsou known as Jean Roqua
  • Wyatt Smith known as Charlie Tyler
  • Affion Crockett known as Beatdown DJ
  • Neil Brown Jr. known as Aaron
  • Lauren Leech known as Jenny
  • Tilky Jones known as Eric
  • Steven Crowley known as Ben
  • Tom Nowicki known as Mr. Lloyd
  • Chele André known as Max's Girl
  • Chris Lindsay known as Beat Down Referee
  • David Zelon known as Ryan's Dad
  • Kyle Sabihy known as Jake's Teammate
  • Patric Knutsson known as Vocabulary Guy
  • Cameron Francis known as ER Doctor
  • Jeremy Palko known as Running Back (as Jeremy Palkowetz)
  • Antony Matos known as Yellow Hummer Crew (as Anthony Matos)
  • Daniel Hernandez known as Yellow Hummer Crew (as Danny Hernandez)
  • Justin A. Williams known as Yellow Hummer Crew
  • Jon McIntosh known as Beat Down Computer Kid
  • David J. Perez known as Miles Dupree
  • Jocelyn Binder known as Hot Tub Chick
  • Deon Stein known as Hot Tub Chick
  • Steve Zurk known as Jake's Dad
  • Reed Baumgarten known as Mansion Fighter
  • Devin Higgins known as Mansion Fighter
  • Jennifer L. Miller known as Female Mansion Fighter (as Jennifer Miller)
  • Delphine French known as Female Mansion Fighter
  • Joe Williams known as Latino Mansion Fighter
  • Angel Hernandez known as African American Fighter
  • Rachael Thompson known as Ex-Girlfriend Mansion Fighter
  • Ryan Frank Rayonec known as Ex-Boyfriend Mansion Fighter
  • Ryan Watson known as Mintz
  • Joop Katana known as Camin
  • Frank Santore III known as Taylor
  • Joseph Cortez known as Lopez
  • Craig Raboteau known as Nyah
  • Daniel Lovette known as Himoff
  • Tony Fuh known as Stackwell
  • Jonathan Eusebio known as Dak Ho
  • Peter Allende known as Villa
  • Remington Reed known as Kline
  • Josh Mueller known as Last Year's Opponent (as Joshua Mueller)
  • Chris Adler known as Combat Club Fighter (uncredited)
  • Robie Alan known as Cup Boy (uncredited)
  • Shawn Banks known as Beefy Door Guy (uncredited)
  • Steven Blincoe known as Club Dancer (uncredited)
  • Colin Bowman known as Loading Dock Worker (uncredited)
  • Michael Brzeski known as Student with Backpack (uncredited)
  • Jasmine Burke known as Student (uncredited)
  • Chris Byrne known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Marc Carasello known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Chris Cavallaro known as Fisherman (uncredited)
  • Ricky Dunlop known as Student (uncredited)
  • Rod Grant known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Jen Halbert known as Spectator (uncredited)
  • David How known as Dockworker (uncredited)
  • Leonard Iacono known as Football Spectator (uncredited)
  • Bjorn Jiskoot Jr. known as Student (uncredited)
  • Elissa Kapneck known as Party Guest (uncredited)
  • Joyce Kirkconnell known as Sexy Girl (uncredited)
  • Jesse Kozel known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Randi Lee Krasny known as Party Girl (uncredited)
  • Kei Leong known as Beatdown Spectator (uncredited)
  • Nathena Lewis known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Douglas Lopez known as Student / Fight Spectaor (uncredited)
  • John Archer Lundgren known as Hospital Patient (uncredited)
  • Tiffany Marshall known as School Teacher (uncredited)
  • Kristin Mellian known as Points Keeper (uncredited)
  • Eric Mentis known as Guy at Party / Guy at Coffee Shop (uncredited)
  • Levon Mergian known as Crowd (uncredited)
  • Freddie T. Mitchell known as Fight Club Spectator (uncredited)
  • Nancy Molimis known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Sean Molnar known as Party Goer (uncredited)
  • Tony Morales known as Market Patron (uncredited)
  • Jennifer Paige Moralez known as Party Girl (uncredited)
  • Craig Myers known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Tom Myers known as Loading Dock Worker (uncredited)
  • Kristin Popelka known as Girl in Crowd (uncredited)
  • Aaron Pushkar known as Fight Club Instigator (uncredited)
  • Summer Raine known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Regina Ramirez known as Student (uncredited)
  • Danny Rawley known as Tennis Player (uncredited)
  • Christian Roberts known as Ryan's Friend (uncredited)
  • David W. Scott known as Loading Dock Worker (uncredited)
  • AJ Semiday known as High School Kid / Beer Chugger (uncredited)
  • Mason Sharrow known as Wake Boarder (uncredited)
  • Milissa Skoro known as Baja's Friend (uncredited)
  • Joanne Spracklen known as Party Girl (uncredited)
  • Chris Tharp known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Kara Turner known as Girl at Coffee Shop (uncredited)
  • Andy Ussach known as Man at Coffee Shop (uncredited)
  • Aries Marvin Uzzle known as Student / Athletic Guy (uncredited)
  • Marnie Van der Burgt known as Tennis Spectator (uncredited)
  • Wolfgang Weber known as Club Fighter (uncredited)
  • Stacy Westbrook known as Bikini Babe (uncredited)
  • Roy Williams Jr. known as Fight Spectator (uncredited)
  • Steven Winfree known as Football Player (uncredited)
  • Ilya Jonathan Zaydenberg known as Guy with Wakeboard (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Nancy Cummings known as additional makeup artist
  • Lee Grimes known as makeup artist
  • Jane Hassinger known as key hair stylist
  • Diane Maurno known as key makeup artist
  • Matthew Petty known as hair stylist (as Matthew Perry)
  • Deborah Brozovich known as assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
  • Linda Schonning known as additional hair stylist: crowd (uncredited)
  • Christine Wostak known as makeup artist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • John Balling known as charge scenic
  • Joan Bernier known as scenic artist (as Joan T. Bernier)
  • Rex Christensen known as on-set dresser
  • Norman Delaney known as set dresser
  • Gary Dunham known as set dresser
  • Rod England known as leadperson
  • James Harris known as construction coordinator
  • Tom Ivanjack known as stand-by painter
  • Richard E. Kruder known as key set dresser
  • Brian Latimer known as graphic designer
  • Shawn W. Logue known as assistant property master
  • Jon McIntosh known as computer graphics
  • Greyson Miller known as set dresser
  • Deborah Palmer known as set designer
  • Jack Reeves known as lead scenic artist
  • Nicholas J. Romanac known as property master
  • Kevin Weber known as set dresser
  • Aaron J. Martin known as props (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • Summit Entertainment (presents)
  • Mandalay Independent Pictures
  • Baumgarten Management and Productions (BMP)

Other Companies:

  • Absolute Rentals  post-production rentals
  • Axium Payroll Services  payroll services
  • Background Entertainment  background casting
  • Blink Entertainment  marketing and promotion
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  remote camera systems
  • Christine Bergren Music Consulting  legal services
  • Cineworks Digital Studios  HD dailies
  • Comerica Entertainment Group  production financing
  • DeLuxe Laboratories  color
  • EFilm  digital intermediate
  • Hanna Brothers Catering  catering
  • International Film Guarantors  completion bond
  • Kodak  motion picture film
  • Marsh Entertainment  insurance
  • Marshall/Plumb Research Associates  script research
  •  product placement
  • PES Payroll  extras payroll services
  • Pacific Title  titles
  • Panavision  camera equipment provided by
  • Paskal Lighting  lighting and grip equipment
  • Pictorvision  wescam provided by
  • Pivotal Post  Avid HD editing equipment
  • Reder & Feig  production legal services
  • Remote Control Productions  score mixed at
  • Smitty's Craft Service  craft service
  • Soundelux  post-production sound services
  • Susie Bench Music  music preparation
  • Technicolor  camera equipment provided by
  • Todd-AO Studios  post-production sound services


  • Summit Distribution (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Summit Entertainment (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Roadshow Entertainment (2008) (Australia) (theatrical)
  • Roadshow Entertainment (2008) (New Zealand) (theatrical)
  • Momentum Pictures (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Inmoa Entertainment (2007) (South Korea) (theatrical)
  • Paradiso Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Seville Pictures (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Shaw Organisation (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • CK Entertainment (2009) (Japan) (DVD)
  • EuroVideo (2008) (Germany) (DVD)
  • HBO Hungary (2009) (Hungary) (TV) (original airing)
  • Nordisk Film Theatrical Distribution (2008) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Odeon (2008) (Greece) (all media)
  • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Transeuropa Video Entertainment (TVE) (2008) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD)
  • West Video (2008) (Russia) (all media)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Luma Pictures (visual effects)
  • Gaines Images (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Alexandre Cancado known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Patrick Clancey known as digital opticals
  • Daniel Craemer known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • A. Michael Dobbs known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures (as Michael Dobbs)
  • Chad Dombrova known as technical director: lead light & pipeline: Luma Pictures
  • Jenn Epstein known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • Mike Gaines known as visual effects artist: Gaines Images
  • H Haden Hammond known as sequence supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • John R. Hazzard known as animator: Luma Pictures (as John Hazzard)
  • Brent Hensarling known as senior systems administrator: Luma Pictures
  • Giseon Kim known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • Erik LaPlant known as visual effects coordinator: Luma Pictures (as Erick LaPlant)
  • Vincent Lavares known as data manager: Laser Pacific
  • Jason Locke known as 3D tracker: Luma Pictures
  • Jessica Madsen known as digital artist
  • Jessica Madsen known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • Artin Matousian known as systems administrator: Luma Pictures
  • Artin Matousian known as technical director: Luma Pictures
  • Juan Melendez known as visual effects coordinator: Luma Pictures
  • Glenn Morris known as visual effects producer: Luma Pictures
  • Dawrath Phoue known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • Brett Reyenger known as 3D tracker: Luma Pictures
  • John Riggs known as technical director: character: Luma Pictures
  • Marcos Romero known as animator: Luma Pictures
  • Payam Shohadai known as executive visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Joey Sila known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Jared Simeth known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Thanapoom Siripopungul known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • James Waterson known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Jimmy Wu known as matte painter: Luma Pictures
  • D.R. Farquharson known as project manager: Efilm (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • USA 4 March 2008 (Hollywood, California) (premiere)
  • Canada 14 March 2008
  • USA 14 March 2008
  • Thailand 15 March 2008
  • Australia 27 March 2008
  • New Zealand 3 April 2008
  • Ireland 4 April 2008
  • UK 4 April 2008
  • Russia 10 April 2008
  • France 16 April 2008
  • Spain 18 April 2008
  • Belgium 23 April 2008
  • Philippines 23 April 2008
  • Ukraine 25 April 2008
  • Poland 9 May 2008
  • Iceland 14 May 2008
  • Turkey 16 May 2008
  • South Korea 22 May 2008
  • Estonia 30 May 2008
  • Singapore 19 June 2008
  • Croatia 17 July 2008
  • Netherlands 24 July 2008
  • Israel 31 July 2008
  • Venezuela 1 August 2008
  • Colombia 6 August 2008
  • Germany 14 August 2008
  • Brazil 15 August 2008
  • Mexico 22 August 2008
  • Egypt 27 August 2008
  • Kuwait 11 September 2008
  • Austria 3 October 2008
  • Finland 8 October 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Italy 28 November 2008
  • Argentina 17 December 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Peru 5 February 2009
  • Japan 27 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 16 October 2009 (TV premiere)

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving intense sequences of fighting/violence, some sexuality, partying and language – all involving teens



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. Zachary Pruckowski ( from Virginia, United States
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    The advertisements for this movie do it serious injustice. I wasstanding in the lobby of a movie theater at a free showing, and almostdidn't walk in, because the trailers and ads had me convinced it was acomplete waste of time. The advertisements portray the film as beingmerely a vehicle for shirtless boys to beat on each other and hot girlsto wear bikinis. While there is no shortage of either, the movie has astrong underlying theme and a decent plot.

    At the thematic level, the movie is about accepting responsibility foryour actions, controlling your emotions, and making good choices. It'sas much about motivations as macho.

    Yes, it is a teen-targeted movie. You've got rich kids running aroundin massive mansions driving expensive cars, but that's just thesetting. You've got people beating the crap out of each other, butthat's just a plot device. The heart of the movie is about personalgrowth and making choices. It's not an empty action flick or a tapedbrawl.

    It's not the best film of the year, and it may well wind up as a latenight cable movie in a few months, but it's nowhere near as bad aspeople expect. It's definitely worth the price of a rental, and worththe $10 to see it in theaters, if you've got no other plans. I blamethe negativity largely on the advertising, which tries to sell it as"just another fight movie".

  2. cabdriver_casual ( from Tokyo, Japan
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    I liked this film better when it was called the Karate Kid. Sure, thereis nothing new under the sun and every film borrows something fromother films that have come before it, but this is bordering oncopyright infringement.

    If I had to write a Karate Kid summary in 3 sentences, this is what Iwould write: Kid moves to a new town. Kid gets the living crap beatenout of him by the town bad boy. Kid starts some heavy duty Karatetraining so he can get revenge by kicking the bad boys ass whilesimultaneously winning the heart of the hottest girl in town.

    Now, if I had to write a summary for this film in 3 sentences it wouldbe as follows: Kid moves to a new town. Kid gets the living crap beatenout of him by the town bad boy. Kid starts some heavy duty MixedMartial Arts training so he can get revenge by kicking the bad boys asswhile simultaneously winning the heart of the hottest girl in town.

    The plot is literally exactly the same. The only difference is thatwhen it came to the soundtrack they replaced Peter Cetera with nu metalin the vein of Linkin Park and the most pivotal characters in this filmwere cell phones.

    People have commented that the fight scenes were pretty good. I tend todisagree. They were pretty weak. Instead of watching this film justwatch the Karate Kid and have a computer handy. When the fight scenesare on in the Karate Kid, just turn away and watch some UFC fights onyoutube. You'll have practically the same film as Never Back Down, justmuch much better.

    I was surprised at the lack of tits in this film. Usually a film with ascript of this caliber has a heap of tits. This was obviously anoversight from the producers and I'm sure that will be fixed if theymake a sequel.

    I do respect the fact that they were able to jam every 80's film clichéever into the little over 90 minutes. When writing a film review onthis site you have the option of checking the "contains spoilers" box.This feature could easily be disabled for Never Back Down. It isimpossible to spoil the content of this film as everybody has alreadyseen it, at least 1000 times, just with a different title.

    Will the good kid defeat the bad kid in a no holes barred fight? Whoknows? Well actually everybody.

  3. Dragoneyed363 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    . . . Never Back Down was still a really great movie that I had a lotof fun watching, and I was surprised with how much I actually ended upliking it. Of course this film is really very predictable and wasbasically just a rip-off version of Fight Club, The Karate Kid, andmovies like that in general that was basically aimed at 16, 17, and 18year old boys, but it was really enjoyable if you just judge it basedon an actual movie and not what audience it's trying to pull in.

    It did get pretty annoying and downright unbelievable at times, but Ihave to give this movie it's props, because the acting was done veryprofessionally for a bunch of model-body teenage actors, and it alsomanaged to keep me so interested and entertained through the entirefilm with semi adroit and crafty, motivating scenes and materialmatter. It gets a bit mediocre, as I have said, and some stuff justfalls flat, but they handle everything they lack so well with otherinteresting and appealing scenes and substance, excluding thefeatherweight dialogue, haha.

    Overall, I was so happy with the outcome of this movie, because whilebeing cliché, and certainly not worthy of winning an Oscar or anythinglike that, it was really enjoyable, and I had a great time watching it.If you lower your expectations and free your mind, I bet you will too.I suggest you see it if you can appreciate it for what it is. Ifanything else, there is Cam Gigandet and Sean Faris shirtless.

  4. oli_rawlings from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    Being a martial artist myself, i can understand why others may not feelthe same way towards what i am about to say as this film is clearlyaimed at a specific audience.

    Never back down is a good teen-young adult film. Why is it rated solow? It contains and deals with many issues that are in our everylives. Issues of pride, of bullying, of prejudice, of commitment andabove all respect. Its promotional campaign does not do it justice. Ifone looks below the surface, this movie has some depth to it.

    Good things about it: fantastic soundtrack, good acting, greatlocations, professional fighting and pretty good story, albeit being abit simple and predictable.

    Bad things about it: a bit cheesy, mostly predictable, lack ofcharacter development apart from Jake (the main character) and JeanRoqua, the occasional bad technique (from my point of view) and a clearplastic feel to it due to the beautiful people.

    I'm not much of a writter, all I'll say is this film is worth watchingand is very empowering, particularly if you are a martial artist orhave had a bad day.

    overall 9/10

  5. dukevega from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    If you weren't old enough to see movies and understand them back in1984, this may seem like a pretty good movie. If, on the other hand,you were old enough, then you will see this movie for what it is: anupdated version of "Karate Kid", a much better film. Before seeingthis, I looked up the movie and read the plot, and that was the firstthought that ran through my head; seeing it only proved it. By the timethe movie was over, I counted over 15 similarities between the twofilms, and yet nowhere did I see any credit given to the originalwriters. Shouldn't they be suing for plagiarism?

    1 Poor kid is star

    2 Moves out to a coastal city

    3 Meets pretty girl

    4 Pretty girl has jerk boyfriend

    5 Jerk boyfriend is local fighting champ (2 years running no less)

    6 Poor kid knows a little about fighting

    7 Gets into fight with jerk boyfriend and gets beat

    8 Meets up with a teacher in the same style as jerk boyfriend

    9 Teacher is foreign born

    10 Teacher has experienced great personal loss

    11 Poor kid and girl have tiff

    12 They get back together after he apologizes for being a jerk

    13 While jerk boyfriend is good fighter, has bad focus

    14 Poor kid and jerk boyfriend face off in tournament he is champion of

    15 In the tournament, poor kid suffers a serious injury

    16 Poor kid wins anyway and earns jerk boyfriend's respect

    There are some other plot holes which stretch the credibility of thismovie even further. The main villain is in good shape, as he walksaround half the movie with no shirt on, revealing some well-definedabs. I find it awfully hard to believe that a high school kid couldachieve something like that.

    The other plot hole which also made me scratch my head was the death ofthe lead character's father. He got drunk at a bar, got behind thewheel and wrapped his car around the tree. The lead was with him and Iwas wondering, "What is a high school kid doing at a bar? Do they checkIDs any more?"

    And another thing: what are high school kids doing participating infull-contact fighting tournaments? Isn't there some kind of law againstthat?

    The one good thing I did like about the movie was the villain. He had awhole smug attitude which came off as highly believable. But still,that isn't nearly enough to make up for this rip-off. I'm just gladthis was a sneak preview so I didn't have to pay to see this.

  6. FourNineFoxtrot from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    Yes, it's just a revamped Karate Kid.

    But with MMA, not just Karate, although I did have the occasional urgeto shout "Cobra Kai!" when the bad guy came on screen.

    Some cool action, basically just MMA (like in the UFC) that's been"hollywoodized" to be showy, "underground", and performed by supposedteenagers.

    Djimon Hounsou is wasted on this film, but does fairly well at beingthe token real actor, giving it some tenuous legitimacy. On the upside,probably a more believable martial arts instructor than Pat Morita…physically, at least.

    It's a great movie to just turn off your brain to, and watch lots ofgirls in bikinis and guys beating each other up. Pleasant, mindlessT&A/Action.

  7. dee.reid from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    Don't tap-out yet!

    From reading the title "Never Back Down," you get the impression thatwhat you're about to watch will be something pretty macho and alsopretty lame – a bad combination. The claims of this being a remake of"The Karate Kid" plus "Fight Club" and mixed martial arts is notundeserved or inappropriate. What it does aim to be, is a "Karate Kid"for the MTV generation and a generation of kids who may think that MMAis the future of the martial arts.

    As a casual fan of mixed martial arts, the gladiator-style spectacle ofthis sport goes all the way back to the Greeks, with their sportPankration (which pretty much resembles today's MMA). The idea ofcross-training and mixing techniques of different fighting stylesgained popularity in the 20th century with Bruce Lee and his theorieson Jeet Kune Do (which when translated from Cantonese, means "the wayof the intercepting fist"). However, mixed martial arts, as we know ittoday in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), PRIDE and other MMAorganizations, gained widespread recognition when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsugrappler Royce Gracie won UFC 1 in 1993. Since then, a revolution hasbeen sparked in the world of full-contact fighting. (On a side, UFCpresident Dana White considers Bruce Lee the "father of modern mixedmartial arts.")

    In "Never Back Down," which seeks to promote MMA for the mainstream,Jake Tyler (Sean Faris, who looks remarkably like a young Tom Cruise)is a promising football player who is relocated with his widowed motherand younger brother from their home in Iowa to the posh surroundings ofupper-class Orlando, Florida; they opt for a cramped apartment insuburbia away from the surf and bikini-clad babes. Right away, it'sestablished that Jake's a born brawler and has a chip on his shoulder,so right away the filmmakers are attempting to remove themselves fromthe "Karate Kid" legacy.

    Right away, he locks eyes on the pretty blonde Baja Miller (AmberHeard, uh-huh), and she invites new-kid Jake to a party later thatnight. At this same party, he locks heads with rich-boy Ryan McCarthy(Cam Gigandet), a champion MMA fighter who gets the upper hand on Jakeand beats him to a pulp in a no-holds-barred brawl.

    All hope is not lost. On his first day of school, Jake had witnessed afight happening under the bleachers, where an outcast kid named Max(Evan Cooper) was getting his butt kicked by Ryan and his goons. Itjust so happens that Max is being trained by the legendary MMA champJean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou) and takes him under his wing. So cue theMTV soundtrack and training montage.

    In terms of being a simple martial arts movie, "Never Back Down" isnothing new. Plenty of martial arts movies have been made about thebullied good guy who gets his butt kicked, learns to fight from amaster, and tests out his newfound skills by getting revenge on histormentors in the ring. The by-the-numbers script by Chris Hauty paysattention to a few of the details of modern mixed martial artstraining, but doesn't really go into any real depth about it, even ifsome of the harsher stuff is only glossed over for the sake of tryingto mainstream it. But I also guess that this Jeff Wadlow-directedvehicle has seen way too many better movies, and it's inherentlyself-referential toward them.

    "Never Back Down," I guess, is a fun way to spend $7.75 (what I spent);at the very least, even if the plot is formulaic, it's stillentertaining. The acting, writing and plot are decent, but still, theperformances, acting and writing, like everything else, areby-the-numbers. Although we don't really wade grimly through worthlessdialogue scenes, we do perk up for the fighting and training sequences.The best thing about these scenes is that they're authentic: what theactors are doing is so "real" you "believe" it. As brutal as they are(even for a "PG-13"-rated movie), they're fairly exciting and thereisn't a whole bunch of flashy camera cutting that takes away from theintensity of the full-contact punching and kicking. The camera staysput for the most part and isn't moving all over the place. It lookslike the actors are really going at it, and it looks like it hurts. Soyou "believe" it in a way you don't really do for a lot of martial artsmovies made in America these days.

    And that's what no-holds-barred is all about, right?


  8. jhobdell from Southampton, UK
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    Perhaps my descriptive summary is unkind to this film. I enjoyed it somuch because it depicts a young man learning to deal with his emotions,rather than being ruled by his fear of them. It is quite remarkable,the strength of character he ultimately develops, and his interactionswith his instructor are gratifyingly free of the childish morality onedreads in such a film, or the typical oriental platitudes that oftenhallmark them because of the origins of martial arts. At the root ofthis, I think, is the film's willingness to observe and comment on the'problem' emotion of anger. Rather than leave it festering, or simplytransform it 'as if by magic', the audience can almost see thetransformation in the main character, through his physical exertion,which eventually leaves him free of its destructive role in his life.For most, if not all, these reasons, I enjoyed the film because itresonated with me quite closely, but it may not be everyone's cup oftea.

    If nothing else, I for one will be researching the possibilities oftraining in mixed martial arts!

  9. guynaba
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    This movie is quite predictable. The story of a boy that gets intotrouble in school and starts fighting because of that isn't original,but between all the predictable movies with this theme, certainly thisis the best.

    Your attention is caught in every single scene. I think the best meritof Never Back Down is that it mixes a lot of types of movie. At thebeginning, it's like one of that silly teenager's movie, showing theschool, party and girls. Then the atmosphere gets darker and the worldof fighting is showed, as well as family's problems, turning everythinginto a drama. And then… I won't tell the whole story, but I assurethat you won't get bored.

    The acting was very well done too, especially Cam Gigandet. Hedefinitely knew how to be the typical bad guy; not like those annoyingbad actors in teenagers movie, but a darker, more "serious" one.

    Even with all these qualities that makes Never Back Down stands out, Idon't think that older people will enjoy watching it… although themovie brings out a moral that fits in everyone.

  10. osvazas from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 5:43 pm

    This is one more film with quite good idea. Though, there are a lotsimilar films that we could bracket in one group with this one. Yet, ithas something outstanding. It inspires me in a way. To strive for mylife-goals, never back down, no matter how hard it may be, what sort ofobstacles are ahead of you.. Maybe that's the real purpose of thisfilm? To inspire one, to be confident and persistent. At least, I wasaffected in this way. I presume, that this movie is suitable for those,who have a very deep and grim times, who need some sort of wake up callto evoke positive feelings to what's life.. to make one be optimisticagain…

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