Action Movie Fanatix Review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

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Starring: Michael Jai White, Dean Geyer, Alex Meraz, Scottie Epstein, Todd Duffee, Lyoto Machida, Eddie Bravo, Wes Shivers, Big John McCarthy, Dustin Poirier, Yves Edwards

Director: Michael Jai White

2011  |  103 Minutes  |  Unrated

“What?  As in, mother fucker, what do you want?” – Case Walker

I’m always hesitant to watch any movies about MMA.  I am a big time MMA fan so I tend to pick them apart.  Needless to say, my friends don’t really care to watch these types of movies with me either.  It isn’t exactly fun to watch a movie with a guy who keeps saying “That’s not realistic.”  So here I am watching Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown, all by my lonesome.

Mike Stokes (Dean Geyer), Zach Gomes (Alex Meraz), Justin Epstein (Scottie Epstein), Tim Newhouse (Todd Duffee) are training with Case Walker (Michael Jai White) as they prepare for The Beatdown, an underground MMA tournament where the winner gets a check for $10,000.

Oh man, where to start.  Well, how about the fighting.  The cage fighting is relatively realistic.  Most of the fighting takes place in training and in the cage so it is mostly flashier, faster paced MMA fighting than what you would ever see in UFC.  It isn’t horribly unrealistic but it doesn’t feel like watching a real MMA fight.

Yep, I actually yelled out “Why would you train capoeira?”  I know, I’m that guy.  It just doesn’t make sense to train capoeira when you are trying to get ready for a fight on relatively short notice.  Most MMA fighters don’t train it at all.  But sure enough, Case is training his guys in capoeira.

I always cringe when I see a pro wrestling power bomb in a mixed martial arts movie.  I know it has happened but it is so extremely rare in real life and normally only can happen in defense of a triangle choke.  Why not use crazy spinning wheel kicks or something slightly more realistic yet still spectacular.  But, yet again, here we are in an MMA movie with a guy getting power bombed in the opening scene.

The best fight actually happens outside of the cage when Case is handcuffed and attacked by a bunch of dirty cops.  It shows how truly awesome Michael Jai White is.

The two main characters, Mike and Zach, are two douchy lookin’ guys who would be more believable wearing Abercrombie than they were in the Jaco gear that must have been provided as some sort of a movie sponsorship deal.

Then there is the comic nerd, turned MMA fighter, turned crazed maybe homicidal maniac.  That is quite a transformation for a nerd.

Speaking of transformers, Todd Duffee is an enormous machine.  I have seen him fight real MMA many times but watching him here, it becomes very apparent why I haven’t seen him in any other movies.

Other than Case and Tim (Jai White and Duffee) the characters are all pretty despicable in their own ways.  You know from the very start of the tournament how the whole thing will play out and yet you don’t necessarily want to see a douchy BFC (Beatdown Fighting Championship I assume) champ.  If anything, I would have wanted Tim to win but since Duffee has ZERO charisma on screen I knew that wasn’t happening.  And Case isn’t even in the tournament so that option is out.  As a viewer you are left to cheer for the lesser of three douches.

I imagine hardcore MMA fans won’t care for Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown’s unrealism but action fans who are just looking for a few fun fights will probably get what they came for.  Nothing more, nothing less.

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