Reviewed by: Rachelle Smotherman
|Featuring:||Djimon Hounsou, Amber Heard, Sean Faris, Cam Gigandet, more »|
|Producer:||Bill Bannerman, Craig Baumgarten, David Zelon|
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Set against the action-packed world of Mixed Martial Arts, Never Back Down is the story of Jake Tyler, a tough kid who leads with his fists, and, often, with his heart. Jake Tyler is the new kid in town with a troubled past. He has recently moved to Orlando, Florida with his family who has relocated to support his younger brother's shot at a professional tennis career. Jake was a star athlete on the football team at home, but in this new city he is an outsider with a reputation for being a quick tempered brawler.
Making an attempt to fit in, at the invitation of a flirtatious classmate, Baja Jake goes to a party where he is unwittingly pulled into a fight with a bully named Ryan McDonald. While he is defeated and humiliated in the fight, a classmate introduces himself to Jake and tells him about the sport known as Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA). He sees a star in Jake and asks that he meet with his mentor, Jean Roqua.
It is immediately apparent to Jake that MMA is not street fighting, but rather an art form he wants to master. Roqua will take Jake under his wing, but it is up to Jake to find the patience, discipline, willingness and reason within him to succeed. For Jake, there is much more at stake than mere victory. His decision will not just settle a score; it will define who he is.”
“Never Back Down” is a mix of “Fight Club,” “Karate Kid” and “Rocky,” all rolled into one. Aimed at teenagers (the theater was filled with them on opening night), this movie offers up plenty of buff bods and bikini clad girls, along with the fighting.
The trainer, Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou) supplied depth to a movie that otherwise could have been severely lacking. Always encouraging his students to maintain self control and deal with pent up emotions, Roqua exemplifies discipline, patience and honor.
Main character Jake Tyler (played by newcomer Sean Faris) takes on the difficult process of working through grief and guilt, realizing that ignoring his emotions has been getting him into trouble.
Jake recognizes the value in fighting for what he believes in and can separate fighting for the sake of conviction vs. fighting because of pride.
Family reconciliation, demonstrating forgiveness and grace.
People are constantly getting beaten to a pulp!
Very scantily dressed girls permeate the entire film, including one close-up, make-out scene with a girl on top of her boyfriend.
Teen drinking and partying are commonplace. As are the absence of parents throughout this movie.
Foul language including many uses of “B**ch”. While present, I didn’t find the language excessive for a movie of this rating.
A couple brief, implied homosexual remarks.
Bottom line: This movie does have some redeeming qualities to add to its plethora of intense fight scenes, but the message it sends to teens that drinking, fighting and seducing each other are okay is not what I would want to be feeding to my kids.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.