Back Down, Dir. Jeff Wadlow, Cert; 15 (Opens 4th April)
like me, you saw the trailers for this movie and thought This is
quite possibly going to be the worst movie ever made, youre
probably not going to bother to pay to see it. Im probably unlikely
to be able to convince you either, as you no doubt have already labelled
it as The Fast and the Furious ripping off Fight Club.
They even made the bad guy look like Brad Pitt at the beginning for Heavens
sake. This was not boding well for me, it has to be said.
What you actually get, however, is an entertaining if predictable
two hours of adrenaline coupled with some surprisingly well developed,
Sean Faris plays Jake Tyler, a high school teen with a history
of fighting, who is immersed in a new world when his family moves to a
new area. Opting to keep his nose clean, Jake avoids confrontation as
much as he can but stumbles upon an underground fight club upon walking
through the school grounds.
Coaxed to a party by the gorgeous Baja Miller (Amber Heard) where
a large party which is teeming with scantily clad girls (I clearly went
to the wrong parties when I was a teenager!), the school jock Ryan McCarthy
(played by the menacing Cam Gigandel) proceeds to give him the
hiding of his life.
Ruffled, Jake enlists the help of martial arts virtuoso Jean Roqua (Djimon
Hounsou), who tells him that if he hears of any off limits fighting,
he will be out of the class and never able to train with him again.
The rest of the story is admittedly standard and, for the most part, consummately
predictable; but the film never seems to drag and Hounsou gives a spirited
performance as Tylers mentor right up to the climactic no holds
barred knockout tournament, which features one twist at least.
In short, its easy to dismiss this as brainless claptrap, but if
youre in a non-thinking kind of mood and youre after entertainment,
I can assure you that Never Back Down IS actually worth watching.
And this from someone who generally hates martial arts flicks! 7/10...