REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — August 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

REVIEW: Never Back Down 2 (2011)

Four college freshmen happen to have the same goal – to participate (and ultimately win) the upcoming local “beatdown” mixed martial arts tournament. They all have their own reasons, but they all come together to train under a superb martial arts champion Case Walker (Michael Jai White).

A great fighter, and a very demanding and strict coach Walker at first doesn’t want to take on any students (he happens to have problems of his own: parents dead due to Katrina hurricane, he’s just out of the prison for killing a man with bare hands in a bar fight), however determined kids stay on their track, and Walker starts to prepare them for the “showdown”.

As the story develops, one of Walker’s students slips off the common path, and turns out to be a psycho, not caring about anyone (including his former friends, and Walker as well), and would stop at nothing to win the fighting tournament.

He also manages to frame Walker for the murder, and all the problems find their solutions “in the steel cage”.

Michael Jai White is not only the star of the film, he’s also a director – this seems to be his debut. And, I must say, this is a very solid debut for sure. White stars as Case Walker, and once again, proves that with him being the lead, the movie gets only better.

For example, the first “Undisputed” film starred Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes, in “Undisputed 2”, it was Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins. Everyone came to conclusion that 2nd part was better.

Same happened here – “Never Back Down 2” is clearly better than the original. It’s pretty much everything: the fights are better, the characters are more vivid and believable, plus Michael Jai White handles the role of the mentor really good.

And for all you MMA fans – there’s Todd Duffee playing one of Walker’s students, and a cameo with Big John McCarthy towards the end of the film.

I should also mention Scottie Epstein, who plays Justin (the psycho) – throughout the whole film he transformed himself from a total “Kurt Cobain” wimp into a bald, raging fighter, hungry for blood. Very believable.

The film is never boring, entertaining, and what is mostly important in movies like this – it has great fights. For martial arts fans, this is a must see.


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  1. Justin doesn’t frame Walker for murder, he simply places a stolen gun in his trailer and calls the cops on him, to make it look as if he’s violated probation and get him arrested.

    Overall, it’s a good film, but is almost ruined by the idiotic subplot of one of the kids’ Dad being gay and abandoning his wife and son. Completely stupid, unnecessary and adds nothing to the main story of the film.

  2. On the other hand, it was a fun addition to the plot. I don’t remember seeing a movie where main character’s dad abandons his family for another man. You’re right, it doesn’t seem like a great fit, but hey, this is a fighting movie, and we got that. Although, too bad MJ White doesn’t fight a lot (probably due to the fact that he was also directing).

  3. Uh… I don’t think most martial arts film fans view gay male subplots as “fun additions” to the main stories of those movies. ESPECIALLY when they have practically nothing to DO with the main story and are simply shoehorned in for some strange reason.

    But I agree, there needed to be MORE Michael Jai White fighting scenes, because the one that’s in the movie is FANTASTIC! Leaves you wanting much more…

  4. Well, most martial arts movies do not have any gay male subplots, thank god:) That’s the reason in this particular case, it seemed like a fun addition to me. As for MJ White, he’s one of the better, most accomplished martial arts actors out there, and he can act as well. We definitely need more of him.

  5. his dad being gay does have something to do with the main plot as he gets angry over it when people talk about it and has to learn to control the anger in fights or he will lose…

  6. To RAY: I think this is a great movie with a good story behind it, and what the hell do you think framing somebody is your as stupid as justin is in the movie… I agree with the last comment, get a dictionary.

  7. hey and u know what guyzz.. Scott Epstein “justin” . he is a m.m.a fighting champion…. but i dun like him in d movie lol .. mj white rox..

  8. The simple and most relevant comparison. NBD 2 vs NBD 1.

    Never back down 2 was a downer of note compared to the first. I got a little anxious knowing MJ white was in the movie (given his track record delivering epic fight scenes) … However, real talk! The movie was bad. I was hoping that the fight scenes (given MJW’s experience) would have made up for the dry acting…unfortunately i was still not convinced.

    My hope is that NBD 2 didn’t leave too bad a taste for the fans … The franchise is on point and could do well… With that said, i would love to see what they do with the next one.

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