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Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

October 14, 2011

By John Leavengood

MY CALL: If you’re here for the fights, you’ll be disappointed!  Another dud of a fighting flick.  So sad.  [C-]  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  Blood and Bone and Undisputed 2.  These movies have what you came for and deliver it with grade “A” Michael Jai White quality.  Also, maybe try an older one like The Best of the Best.

This was directed by Michael Jai White.  Now I think he’s awesome—at action and choreography.  Check him out in Undisputed 2 or Blood and Bone.  These titles may sound suspect, but trust me, the action is box office “A” quality.  It’s just all of the non-combat that kept them from theatrical release.  But again, keep in mind the director of this one and try to be understanding of the hardly serviceable acting.  You’re here for the fights…and you’re going to be disappointed.

So some fresh meat freshman boxer-wrestlers stumble across the same underground tournament as the first installment in this hopefully coming-to-a-close franchise.  The characters are completely uninteresting.  The plot is completely aimless.  Michael Jai White delivers completely painful dialogue.  But I won’t lie.  I smiled a couple of times.

The score and tone are surprisingly upbeat considering this movie is about a brutal elimination competition called “The Beatdown”.  But the training scenes lack the proper motivating energy, the trainer (Michael Jai White) doesn’t rile us or the characters up, and I cannot find an antagonist.  At least, not besides a needlessly racist cop scene.  As the movie progresses, we find no more intriguing conflict than that between the apparent protagonists and the fighting/training scenes remain stagnant.  An attempt is made to turn one protagonist into a villain—it’s a very poor attempt.

The characters don’t seem to develop.  They don’t seem to have anything to overcome.  There doesn’t seem to be any point to this movie.  Not even to watch some cool fights.  There’s one (here’s the clip).  But is it really worth over an hour of suffering for two minutes of pleasure? The Beatdown fights at the end are “okay” but fall short of the price of admission.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2011 11:13 am

    I can’t say I’m surprised that this is a dud, but I’m still disappointed, and I’ll still have to see it eventually and review it, even if I’m not looking forward to it. Good stuff.

  2. October 21, 2011 9:16 pm

    I’m still gonna watch it. Bad fighting movies are always worth a watch.


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