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Sean Faris as Jake Tyler
Amber Heard as Baja Miller
Cam Gigandet as Ryan McCarthy
Evan Peters as Max Cooperman
Leslie Hope as Margot Tyler
Djimon Hounsou as Jean Roqua
Wyatt Smith as Charlie Tyler
Affion Crockett as Beatdown DJ Swagga
Neil Brown Jr. as Aaron
Lauren Leech as Jenny
Tilky Jones as Eric
Steven Crowley as Ben Costigan
Tom Nowicki as Mr. Lloyd
Mix It Up: Bringing MMA to the Big Screen
Blow by Blow: Breaking Down the Fights
Star Power: Djimon Hounsou in Training
The Thrill of the Fight: Choreographing MMA
Training the Cast
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 113 minutes
The following is from the official synopsis of the film:
"Jake (Sean Faris) is the new kid in school. When a beautiful girl (Amber Heard) befriends him, Jake thinks he's set. But instead, her fight-club boyfriend, Ryan (Cam Gigandet), smacks Jake a bloody, black-eyed welcome. Humiliated, Jake then turns to a mixed martial arts (MMA) master (Djimon Hounsou), who teaches him how to fight...and how to walk away. But it becomes obvious that a brutal re-match is inevitable if Jake wants to stop Ryan and his bullying, once and for all."
This version of "Never Back Down" is unrated. The theatrical version was rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving intense sequences of fighting/violence, some sexuality, partying and language - all involving teens.
The DVD cover for this movie features a blurb from a Chicago Tribune movie review – "It's a little 'Karate Kid,' a smidge of 'Fight Club'…a lot of 'The O.C'…" I can't think of a better possible description of this film. It's spot on and should immediately tell you if this movie is for you or not. And I'd emphasize that "O.C." part. And for me, that's not a good thing.
I didn't care for "Never Back Down." I found it incredibly dull and utterly predictable. My wife and I were watching it and it became so predictable that our viewing turned into a Mystery Science Theater 3000 type of viewing. We started joking about how Djimon Hounsou was Mr. Miyagi. We started making up lines for the pretty girlfriend. We predicted what was going to happen 20 minutes before it did. I imagine if you hadn't seen "The Karate Kid" or "Fight Club," you might think this was a novel film. If you had, then there's nothing new here.
I will give credit to "Never Back Down" on a few fronts. It's a great looking film – the cinematography is good. The cast is also pretty. I'm sure Sean Faris could be great with a better script. And the few fight scenes that are in the movie are entertaining. Just fast forward to them and you'll see most of what this film has to offer. And I will add, when our hero gets the crap beat out of him, he is bruised, battered, and bleeding in later scenes. It's not like they do with most action heroes and he only has a scratch in following scenes. (Wouldn't want to damage that pretty face now, would we?)
This movie is mainly for teens and anyone that is too young to have seen "The Karate Kid." Everyone else will be utterly bored with "Never Back Down."
For whatever reason, they decided to give this movie TWO discs. You'll find deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes, etc.