Never Back Down was released in theatres on 3/14/08 and on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/29/08.
I've read a lot of reviews for Never Back Down that compared this movie to the 1984 classic The Karate Kid featuring Ralph Macchio and an Academy Award nominated performance by Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. I'll give them that... if you replace karate with mixed martial arts, Pat Morita with Djimon Hounsou and Ralph Macchio with... some guy... you will have a very similar experience with a slight difference in quality.
What I'm ashamed to know, however, is that if you change all of the fighting terminology in Never Back Down to hip-hop dancing terminology... you'd have Step Up 2 the Streets. Both movies end the EXACT SAME WAY. There is an "illegal" competition that the contestants only find out about by a text message sent out the day of the contest with it's time and location. One of the two main characters (either the antagonist[s] or the protagonist[s]) is disqualified from the competition and the conflict between the two moves out into the parking lot, where the good guy(s) prove that they are better than the bad guy(s) once and for all. In both movies, after the big climax, there's a scene during which it's implied that the two parties have developed a mutual respect for each other and will be able coexist peacefully in the future. Now to be fair, there are some aspects of the original Step Up in Never Back Down as well, but they couldn't possibly have skipped all of those crucial plot points and moved straight into sequel material, the audience might not have been able to follow what was going on.
It always confuses me when legitimately talented, Oscar nominated actors, like 2 time nominee Djimon Hounsou (In America, Blood Diamond) agrees to these flimsy projects. He was fine, and like the dancing in the Step Up, movies the fighting in Never Back Down is entertaining to watch. The movie, however, is cheesy and predictable. Don't waste your time.
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