Never Back Down
|Never Back Down|
|Directed by||Jeff Wadlow|
|Written by||Chris Hauty|
|Produced by||Craig Baumgarten|
|Edited by||Victor Du Bois |
|Music by||Michael Wandmacher|
|Distributed by||Summit Entertainment|
|Box office||$41.6 million|
Never Back Down is a 2008 American martial arts film directed by Jeff Wadlow and starring Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, and Djimon Hounsou. The movie was released on March 14, 2008. The film is about a frustrated and conflicted teenager who arrives at a new high school to discover an underground fight club.
Jake Tyler has recently moved from Iowa to Orlando, Florida with his mother, Margret, and younger brother, Charlie. His father died in a drunk-driving car crash accident, which is the subject of taunting from other classmates. He has a rising reputation with the students of his new school due to an internet video of him when he was a football player at his previous school, fighting with an opponent player. Jake is invited by classmate Baja Miller to a party where he is unwillingly pulled into a fight with the MMA champion at the school, Ryan McCarthy, who is also Baja's boyfriend. Ryan easily defeats Jake, and video of the event circulates and leaves Jake humiliated.
A classmate, Max Cooperman, introduces Jake to MMA and gets him connected to Jean Roqua. Jake trains under Roqua and has difficulty doing so due to his anger towards his incident with Ryan. Baja breaks up with Ryan due to his having no remorse for his fight with Jake, which she takes negatively. Baja also tries to make amends with Jake by apologizing for her role in the fight between him and Ryan but Jake refuses to forgive her. One day after practice, Jake deposes a group of men during a road rage brawl. Max films the video, which circulates around the school and raises Jake's social status; this agitates Ryan enough to challenge Jake to compete in the Beatdown, an underground fighting tournament of which Ryan is the reigning champion. Roqua puts Jake through more rigorous training in preparation for the Beatdown. Jake is initially reluctant to compete at the event, but his mind is changed after Max is hospitalized by Ryan.
Jake arrives at the tournament and both he and Ryan make their way through each round, each emerging victorious. Jake makes it to the semifinals in spite of an injury he received in the previous match. Baja arrives to not only support him, but to tell him that she understands why he insists on fighting: so that he would never have to do it again. After learning that Ryan was disqualified in his semifinal match due to an illegal eye gouge, Jake forfeits, seeing no reason to continue. While he and Baja attempt to leave, Ryan confronts him and the two finally fight outside in the parking lot. Jake is still limited by his injury, and Ryan at first gains the upper hand, applying a choke on Jake. However Jake escapes and knocks out Ryan using one of the first combinations Roqua taught him. Eventually, Jake wins the respect of his fellow students, including Ryan; and Roqua, who is originally from Brazil and went through a self-induced exile due to a conflict with his father involving the death of his brother, closes the gym to go to the country to reconcile.
- Sean Faris as Jake Tyler, a trouble-prone teenager and the main protagonist.
- Amber Heard as Baja Miller, Jake's love interest.
- Cam Gigandet as Ryan McCarthy, Jake's rival, bully and the main antagonist.
- Djimon Hounsou as Jean Roqua, Max's mentor who agrees to train Jake.
- Evan Peters as Max Cooperman, a classmate who introduces Jake to MMA and befriends him.
- Wyatt Smith as Charlie Tyler, Jake's Younger Brother
- Leslie Hope as Margot Tyler, Jake's Mother
- Chele Andre as Tiffany West, Baja's friend who likes Max.
- Tilky Jones as Eric
- Neil Brown Jr. as Aaron, Ryan's best friend.
- Lauren Leech as Jenny, Baja's friend who becomes Ryan's new girlfriend.
- Anthony Matos as Yellow Hummer Crew #1
- Daniel Hernandez as Yellow Hummer Crew #2
- Justin A. Williams as Yellow Hummer Crew #3
Never Back Down debuted in 2,729 theaters at #3 with $8,603,195 in the opening weekend. After 2 weeks in cinemas, it garnered $18,890,093; and after one month the movie earned $37,676,991 worldwide.
The film closed on June 5, 2008, after 84 days at the North American box office with $41,627,431 worldwide against a budget of $20 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 23% based on reviews from 84 critics. The site's consensus states: "Though not without its pleasures, Never Back Down faithfully adheres to every imaginable fight movie cliché". On Metacritic the film has a score of 39% based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D, calling it "dopey. And with its emphasis on stupid violence, xylophone abs, and getting yourself on YouTube, it's yet another product that makes you feel bad about today's youth culture." Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "[i]t's a little Karate Kid, a smidge of Fight Club (with none of the ironic ambivalence toward violence that David Fincher brought to that story), a lot of The O.C. (evil boy Gigandet played an evil boy on that series), and presto: probable hit".
Movie historian Leonard Maltin cited the picture as "...Wildly improbable and cliched, yet entertaining -- especially for fans of this genre. Cam Gigandet can glare with the best of them...All in all, the film Showdown tried to be."
|2008||MTV Movie Award||Best Fight||Sean Faris and Cam Gigandet||Won|
The DVD was released on July 29, 2008, and has so far sold 990,405 units, bringing in $18,495,324 in revenue. This does not include Blu-ray sales.
A 2011 sequel titled Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown was released with Evan Peters reprising his role as Max Cooperman. Directed by Michael Jai White in his directorial debut, the film stars White alongside Alex Meraz, Jillian Murray, MMA fighters Todd Duffee, Lyoto Machida, Scott Epstein and Australian actor-singer Dean Geyer.
A second sequel, titled Never Back Down: No Surrender, again directed by White, who also reprises his role as Case Walker. The film also stars Josh Barnett, Gillian Waters, Steven Quardos, Nathan Jones and Esai Morales.
- "Above and Below" – The Bravery
- "Anthem for the Underdog" – 12 Stones
- "Teenagers" – My Chemical Romance
- "Someday" – Flipsyde
- "Wolf Like Me" – TV on the Radio
- "Under the Knife" – Rise Against
- "Time Won't Let Me Go" – The Bravery
- "Rock Star" – Chamillionaire & Lil Wayne
- "Be Safe" – The Cribs
- "Headstrong" – Trapt
- "False Pretense" – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
- "Orange Marmalade" – Mellowdrone
- "You Are Mine" – Mutemath
- "Stronger" – Kanye West feat Daft Punk
- "Crank That (Travis Barker Rock Remix)" – Soulja Boy Tell 'Em and Travis Barker
- "The Slam" – TobyMac
- "Lights Out" - Breaking Benjamin
- "Face the pain" - Stemm
- "…To Be Loved" – Papa Roach (Featured during Theatrical Trailer)
The trance track played, when Ryan and his dad argue, is called "Estuera – Tales From The South (Jonas Steur's Flow Revision)", it did not feature on the soundtrack. It's from the album In Search of Sunrise 5: Los Angeles – Tiesto
- "Never Back Down (2008)".
- "Never Back Down: Cam Gigandet Interview". ScreenSlam. March 13, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
- Never Back Down at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Never Back Down". Metacritic.
- Kirschling, Gregory (2008-03-19). "Never Back Down Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- Phillips, Michael (2008-03-12). "Movie Review: Never Back Down". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- Richard Roeper. "Never Back Down". RichardRoeper.com.
- Maltin's TV, Movie, & Video Guide
- "The Numbers.com – ''Never Back Down''". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- "IGN.com – ''Never Back Down'' (Extended Beat Down Edition) DVD Review". Dvd.ign.com. 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- "Never Back Down franchise just got Geyer". September 1, 2010.
- Modern Day Karate Kid Packs A Punch- NYU News (Feb. 22, 2008)
- Never Back Down- The Duke Chronicle (Mar. 6, 2008)
- What's Your Fight? Hollyscoop (March 7, 2008)
- Bill higgins (March 5, 2008). "Never Back Down Gets Its Kicks". Variety. Archived from the original on August 5, 2011.
- Never Back Down Taking A BLog Beating UFC Daily (March 8, 2008)
- Mariana McConnell (2008-03-04). "Never Back Down Writer Chris Hauty". Cinema Blend.
- 'Never Back Down' Struggles Cincinnati- The Enquirer (March 15, 2008)
- Constance Droganes (March 14, 2008). "Fight Club: Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou Kicks Things Up with Martial Arts Flick". CTV.ca.
- Philip Marchand (March 14, 2008). "'Never Back Down': Realism Takes A Sucker Punch". The Star. 2 out of 4 stars.
- Actors Elevate Fight Film Plot You Know Las Vegas Sun (March 14, 2008)
- John Anderson (March 13, 2008). "Festival Reviews: Never Back Down". Variety.com.
- Never Back Down Newsday (March 14, 2008)
- Dan Bennett (March 13, 2008). "Never Back Down' Mixes It Up With Mixed Results". North County Times.
- MOVIE REVIEW- Fight Feature: Wadlow's Second Film A Manly Movie The Hook 23 (March 13, 2008)