“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Michael Jai White / Actors: Stacey Asaro, Gralen Bryant Banks, Rus Blackwell, Beau Brasso, Eddie Bravo ... / DVD released 2011-09-12 at Sony Pictures Home Ent. / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Directed : Michael Jai White
Released : April 8, 2011
Lasts : 103 mins
Never Back Down 2 is a martial arts movie, and there are loads of recognizable, faces in this movie. It is obviously a sequel to the first film, Never Back Down, which was a big action film, which was released in 2008.
This movie is based around a bunch of college lads, fighting in a no holds bar fighting competition, called the Beatdown, where 16 fighters are selected to fight for a cash prize. The Beatdown competition, is a illegal event, so it is important that the authorities do not find out when it actually is, although everybody does no it is going to take place. Max Cooperman is the kid who is organizing the tournament, as he tries to find 16 fighters, who can put on a great show for him.
Zach is a character who has done some boxing in the past, but now wants to get into the cage, but his doctor has warned that any more fighting could leave him blind. While Mike a college wrestler, is struggling to come to terms, with the fact that his dad, has run away with another man. Tim is a young college student, and since the passing of his father, his mother has been struggling with keeping the payments up on the house they live in, even taking work in a strip club to make ends meet, but will not hear of Tim dropping out of college so he could help with the bills. And there is Justin, who is attacked and chased by a bunch of bullies before being rescued.
It is Casey who rescues him, Casey a ex-cage fighter who has fought the best of them and won, is living in town, and one way or another all the characters mentioned above seek him out, so he can train them for the up and coming tournament. I thought one of the best things about this movie, was the soundtrack, all the way through this film, there was various different songs which kept me really entertained. The music tended to heighten the tension, at certain stages through out the movie.
This is a action packed martial arts movie, so anybody who does not like watching a bit of fighting, will not enjoy watching this. For those who do like high flying kicks, and men beating lumps out of each other, then this is a movie for you. Michael Jai White was my main reason for watching this movie, and he does not disappoint, this actor is great at playing the tough guy, and I thought the role he plays in this movie, was pretty much made for him.
There are a load of characters to get to know, with different little story lines, all leading to the main story line. There is a little romance, and some nice scenes, as the college lads pull together, to help out Casey. As well as the martial arts fighting, there is a lot of training through out this movie, as the young fighters prepare for the Beatdown. I thought this was a very good movie, I grew up watching Karate Kid, and Bruce Lee movies, so I could appreciate this film.
The soundtrack is great, and although this movie is full of action and fighting, the violence is not very bad, it is based around fighting for sport, rather than mindless violence. So I would recommend this as a movie well worth watching, for those who like the genre.
Michael Jai White as Case Walker
Evan Peters as Max Cooperman
Dean Geyer as Mike Stokes
Alex Meraz as Zack Gomes
Todd Duffee as Tim Newhouse
Scott Epstein as Justin Epstein
Jillian Murray as Eve
Laura Cayouette as Vale
Lyoto Machida as Himself
"Big" John McCarthy as Himself
Eddie Bravo as D.J. Bravo
Never Back Down was a film about a disgruntled youth is drawn into a fighting world within his school due wanting to fit in more and due to a grudge he has with a guy he had a fight with at the beginning off the film with his one fuse being that he doesn't like people taking the "mike" out of his dad who had died. If you've seen the first film, just imagine that same story outline for the second one.
I wasn't ever expecting to see a Never Back Down 2 due to it having the feel of a sole one hit wonder of an independent film, everyone I know who has watched it said it was a supreme film and loved it, which makes me wonder why it received such low rating when it was released. But either way, the ending of it pointed away from there ever being a sequel, it just didn't feel right, but yet here we go, and I must say, it is one of those rare films which is actually good as a film milking of another films success!
A young High School Wrestler called Mike starts college and after going to a Freshmen party is invited to see a wanna-to-be Dana White (UFC Founder) called Max Cooperman (who was the main characters friend in the first film), who has organised a massive event for the "Savage Science" called "The Beatdown", he needs to find 16 fighters, off which one Mike becomes as well as a further few you discover in the film. You see numerous other interesting characters from different backgrounds such as Justin who is a Comic Book nerd being beat up by bullies, Tim, a responsible older brother who helps out his mum and 2 siblings as well as a ladies man, Zack. They all find their way to be trained by Case, a former MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter whose come to an unfortunate halt in his career, and he takes them all under his wing and trains them, until they all disperse in motivation in fighting and it becomes less about The Beatdown.
The story is very simple and quite predictable on most parts, for instance the meet up with Mike, Zack and Case seemed to go down as a standard which was a bit disappointing as it'd be nice to see something new in a situation like that (similar to what happened in Never Back Down when they meet the couch/trainer), but overall it does flow very well, there isn't any complicated backstory and everything is explained very well, I also liked the bits where it reminds you with short scenes that these are still individual people with their problems and they've not disappeared due to them being better trained fighters.
First thing I've got to say is right at the start of the film, I was very confused with the 2 characters Mike and Zack, as they look very similar apart from Zack having an ear stud, which was the only giveaway on who I was looking at most times, although they are different people all together.
The film is directed by Michael Jai White, who has seen his way around a few films but never really made a big name for himself as an actor and this is his directing debut film, he also coincidently plays Case in the film as often happens in independent films and with new directors. Mind I can't fault him on his performance as Case as he not only looks the part being a professional martial arts in reality, his angry style acting really suits the character and made him really stick out.
Not until doing a little research that I found out that almost everyone in the cast had some kind of Martial Arts/Boxing history or was a professional fighter, for instance Tim (Todd Duffee) is a Heavyweight Boxer and Justin (Scott Epstein) was in Ultimate Fighter (TV Series), which was surprising as he pulled off playing a nerdy character at the start very well, although his transformation was quite amazing in 95 days from a nerdy character to a Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai and Boxing professional he becomes (tad unrealistic, but the film is awesome so can be ignored). Continuing the cast call with a small cameo appearance from Lyoto Machida who is the current number 5 best Light Heavyweight fighter in the world!
Simply put they've got a whole lot of professionals with some decent acting skill to come and save on the stunt doubles to star in the film, which proved to give the audience a fantastic spectacle.
The fighting scenes were astonishing, I'd say better than watching the real UFC as they were very well choreographed to keep the audience on the edge of the seat (it did with me) watching the impressive moves (although often impractical) displayed. I must say, if anything to watch for it the Capoeira MMA mix they've established for Zack and the final Beatdown near the end was nothing short of watching the UFC itself.
I really hope not as they've struck very lucky with this one as Michael Jai White has combined what he is good at, this being Martial Arts and film and has come up with nothing short of another Never Back Down film, and I was gripped from the moment I started watching it. But I hope that unless they plan to take a whole new approach and not follow the recipe from these two films, they should let the series die here.
Even though I was very surprised to have seen a second Never Back Down film, as I've heard nothing about it until I stumbled across it, and I will admit I was worried that it was just another low budget film trying to milk of a previously successful film as it has a whole new cast and director, I was very glad to find that this wasn't the case and Michael Jai White has made a great film title into an even greater film.
I can't say nothing bad apart from small little nit-picks like the acting wasn't breathtakingly good and some bits are a little unrealistic, however putting any little bits like that aside, you've got yourself a great film which would be enjoyed vastly by any fighting sport fans and even still by anybody who liked Rocky (although they're nothing alike).