‘Never Give Up’ Theme of ‘Never Back Down’

Eric Konarki

Fight for what you believe in.
“Never Back Down” written by Chris Hauty (Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Fransisco, 1996), is the story of a rebellious teenager who is lured to an underground fight club. He gets trained and mentored by a mixed martial arts veteran. After training his body, mind and soul, he is prepared to fight for his friends and family’s protection in a no-holds-barred elimination against a local martial arts champion, who is distributing threats.

The role of Jake Tyler played by Sean Faris, 25, (“Forever Strong,” 2008) is challenging to endure. Faris’ determination to portray a rebellious high school teenager is displayed on the screen. His childish and inappropriate rants represent his young age.

Baja Miller, the beautiful, blonde, girlfriend of Jake Tyler is played by Amber Heard (“Pineapple Express,” 2008). Her acting is amateurish and unskilled. Miller, 21, is very sexy and easy to fall in love with character.

Ryan McCarthy, played by Cam Gigandet (“Who’s Your Caddy?”, 2007), is a character filled with anger, antagonism, and determination. Gigandet, 25, is the nemesis of the movie. His performance is sufficient and could have had different emotions.

The dorky and determined best friend of Jake Tyler is Max Cooperman played by Evan Peters (“Mama’s Boy,” 2007). Peters, 21, is a quirky character who was appreciated.

Margot Tyler, Jake’s mother, played by Leslie Hope, 42, (“Jesse Stone: Thin Ice,” 2008) performed exceptionally. Hope’s portrayal of a mother, who doesn’t want her child fighting was endearing.

Charlie Tyler, son of Margot and brother of Jake, as played by Wyatt Smith II, 13, (“The Perfect Game,” 2008) is exceptional. Smith’s acting is very mature for his age. A job well done.

Two-time Oscar nominee, Djimon Hounsou’s (“Blood Diamond,” 2006) performance as Jean Roqua, the martial arts trainer is superb. Hounsou’s technique and performance was riveting. He commands the screen yet has modesty.

Overall the character choices are decent, ranging from great acting to mediocre.

Jeff Wadlow’s (“Cry Wolf,” 2005) direction of the movie is unique and keeps your mind active and moving around like the fighters.

“Never Back Down” is set in Orlando, Fla. Many students live in huge, beautiful, and expensive homes, which leaves you wishing they were your own. The city has a beautiful and welcoming presence to it.

The clothing the characters wear is somewhat abnormal. The girls wear bikinis to school, which would be against any dress code. This made the movie seem poorly constructed. The male costumes are very Florida oriented; wife-beaters and board shorts, to accommodate the weather.

“Never Back Down” has all the elements of a teen flick. The plot of the movie is sufficient. The movie’s serious aspect is not acknowledged due to the poor choices of actors and costumes. The exaggerated parting scenes are unrealistic. The fight scenes are a bit graphic for children under the age of 16, although it has a PG-13 rating.

The movie could have been better, although it was very entertaining. “Never Back Down” has a message for viewers: Never give up on what you believe in.

2 stars out of 4
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 min.