is the new kid in school. When a beautiful girl befriends him,
Jake thinks he's set. But instead, her fight-club boyfriend
Ryan smacks Jake a bloody, black-eyed welcome. Humiliated, Jake
then turns to a mixed martial arts (MMA) master, 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.
Can you recall watching those typical HK martial-arts
classics whereby the protagonist after suffering a defeat
went to seek a grand master’s teachings and emerge as
the winner in the re-duel with the villain?
change the setting to a high school in modern day Orlando
and instead of Chinese martial-arts, throw in Mixed Martial
Arts (MMA) and you get "Never Back Down".
Tyler (played by Sean Faris who looked like a young Tom Cruise
with a mole) arrives from Iowa and got himself seriously walloped
when a rich brat and also MMA champion Ryan McDonald challenged
him to a bloody fight during a party.
dealing with his opponent’s harassment, Jake has to
deal with his Dad’s death and his crumbling relationship
with his mother. Thus in comes the 'sifu' (master), Jean Roqua
(Djimon Hounsou) who steps in to dispense nuggets of wisdom
and at the same time, impart his MMA skills to Jake. All this
while, Jack still manages to squeeze time to romance a girl
name Baja (Amber Heard).
with the presence of the ever reliable Hounsou, "Never
Back Down" is yet another predictable sport, family drama
without much credentials in the writing or acting department
to talk about. It can be a tad disturbing to see people beating
up one another for no substantial reason other than in the
name of MMA. Will the youngsters find this inspiring to pick
up MMA? You know in "Never Back Down", bruises can
miraculously be healed over night but not ego. This perhaps
explains why our over-protective censors decide to label this
DVD as M18 (Some Mature Content) in case it sends the wrong
message to vulnerable teens.
whole movie reeks heavily of testosterone, machoism and pumping
loud music soundtracks. The YouTube, MTV generation and fans
of "Step Up" series will definitely lap this one
up. And of course, some selected segment of the audience will
find consolation in the leads’ solid six-pack ab. I
suppose there’s no need for me to tell you how it ends.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
DVD transfer is passable and the Dolby Digital 2.0 is sufficient
for the material. I guess you won’t miss out much unless
you crave to hear hordes of people shouting "Fight! Fight!"
in 5.1 audio.
by Linus Tee