Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Never Back Down Review

Steal liberally from as many cliche sports and fight movies from the 80s and early 90s as possible, add in a dash of Fight Club and a hint of The O.C. and, presto!, 106 minutes later you have Never Back Down. It's difficult for me to give this movie a serious review because objectively it isn't very good but I'll be damned if I didn't have a great time at it. The performances are surprisingly earnest and tolerable, which isn't to say they're good but they're probably better than the material deserves. Djimon Hounsou, a great actor who is far too frequently in bad movies, gives a pretty nice Mr. Miyagi impersonation here. Sean Faris plays the same sort of troubled wrong side of the tracks kid with a heart of gold dragged into an upper class society not dissimilar from the lead character, Ryan Atwood, on The O.C. Cam Gigandet, once a villain on The O.C., plays an amusingly hammy heavy here. I think I found this film most amusing because it was so unabashed in it's dedication to adapting the best moments of so many fun cliche films (it's really more of a homage than anything else). This film features the karate move our hero struggles with at first returns in the climax (I'll let you guess if it's successful or not), Mr. Miyagi (or whatever Djimon's character is named) spouts pearls of wisdom throughout and, possibly most amusing of all, are the FOUR music video style training montages (all of which have a nice Rocky feel to them). Turn off your brain, see this and have a good time.

Overall Score: 7/10

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