Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Never Back Down

Review by Chris Maitland

When I first saw the trailer for Never Back Down back in March before its theatrical release. I thought, “Wow this looks exactly like The Karate Kid, except with mixed martial arts instead of karate.” Well it turns out I was right. But despite a generic story and cliché after cliché, this is still a decent movie.

The story centers around Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) who moves from his small Iowa hometown to Orlando, Florida so that his younger brother can pursue his dreams of becoming a professional tennis player. But one of the Jake’s problems is that he has a quick temper and frequently beats himself up for the death of his father (um, figuratively speaking).

After a couple of days in big city he ends up finding about the town’s obsession with mixed martial arts.  Soon after that, he ends up going under the wing of a trainer (Amistad’s Djimon Hounsou, who is undoubtedly this film’s Mr. Miyagi). Then basically the film is just a series of training sequences, a little bit of heartbreak and a couple of touching moments all leading up to the big fight for Jake.

Overall this movie is a kind of a mixed bag. Hounsou gives a good performance and the rest of the acting is passable. The story is pretty trite and predictable but it works, mostly because if its bone-crushing fight scenes and somewhat inspiring training sequences.

This film gets a mild recommendation from me. It’s worth a rental but pretty much noting else. I would also recommend it to any UFC fan because they would probably love it, but for the rest us, it’s a decent way to spend two hours

3 / 5 stars   


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