Fight Fans welcome. We have for you today in the center of this ring, the story of four young men from different backgrounds but who have all come to fight in the Beatdown. The Beatdown is a place where passion can fuel the desire of the fighters to become the very best. But, there are many obstacles in their way in life and in the ring. What exactly will happen and how many broken bones will take place? Join me in the cage and we shall experience, Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown.
Are you ready?, I said are you ready? Then for the thousands in attendance (or just me and two nervous cats) and the millions (or possibly dozens) watching around the world (okay domestic United States and possibly Canada), let’s get ready to go down the cast page and story plotline. We have some interesting characters tonight and there is no way you can follow the action if you don’t have a program to go by. Programs are sold at the door and are available at www.donttakethisseriously.com.
In the corner to my left, we have Mike “Lead Pretty Boy” Stokes (played by Dean Geyer). He is just starting his first year in college, has a new roommate Kurt (played by Jeremy Palko) and likes the ladies (even if his father apparently does not). He does not do very well at parties with the ladies. He also likes to wrestle but often lets his anger get the very best of him.
Our second combatant, is Zack “I am a boxer and I don’t know when to quit” Gomes(played by Alex Meraz). He has a 5-0 record and looks to have a bright future. That is until he gets knocked out by a fighter that he takes too lightly. He finds out later that he risks life and limb if he ever fights again because of a very serious eye condition. Zack also sports a fine girlfriend named Eve (played by Jillian Murray). But perhaps she isn’t all that happy with the relationship.
But wait, there’s more. We also have the genocidal, homicidal, and suicidal comic shop worker, Justin “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Emo” Epstein (played by Scottie Epstein). He might seem like a dork but behind that dumpy exterior lies a man that is completely crazy in the ring. Then finally, we are introduced to Tim “I Ain’t Afraid of King Kong” Newhouse (played by Todd Duffee). He is trying to juggle his school life with his mother who is desperately struggling to make money by working at strip clubs (not what you think).
Case Walker (played by Michael Jai White) is your trainer with his own mysterious past in the MMA world (and behind bars). Max Cooperman (played by Evan Peters) is your Dana White wannabe fight promoter and your referee is Jude Cambise. D.J. Bravo (played by Eddie Bravo) is your MC. Sixteen fighters, four dreams of being the best and brightest fighter at the Beatdown. This is only just the beginning.
I can admit to never having seen the first Never Back Down. I have seen the box in the store plenty of times and it honestly did pretty well in the theaters (doubled its budget). But I was a bit worried when I learned I would be reviewing the direct to dvd sequel. I was honestly surprised by what went on. This movie spends a lot of time (arguably too much) on building up the four main characters and even some time establishing how much of a bad ass the trainer is. It helps the viewer connect with the characters and a desire to see them succeed.
To be honest, even though a lot of time is spent on the training with these four individuals and Case, the tournament is a little rushed. If you have ever watched movies like Bloodsport and Kickboxer, they spend a lot of time on training but they spend just as much on the fights because those matches also tell stories. The eventual villain in this tournament is almost a tad on the unbelievable side because of how they treat him until the last twenty to thirty minutes. However, those minor quibbles aside, this is a very fun and action packed fighting movie.
The video is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie looks quite good and not just because of the bare breasted women that they show every so often. Color is good here and it helps to create the dingy fighting atmosphere without being grainy and pixelated. I liked the amount of detail here. The location if you are curious is Baton Rouge, Louisiana which seems to be a favorite spot for a lot of movies these days. My only wish was to see this one in blu-ray but more on that in the closing comments.
The audio is presented in 5.1 English Dolby Digital (along with French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai 5.1 Mixes). Sound is never a problem, it was one of those rare films where I was able to set it at one volume and not adjust it for the entire picture. But in the same breath, it can be described as just average. Dialog is clear, action is brisk and don’t expect too much from your surround speakers. The music despite being bland is nice and loud however. English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Portuguese subtitles are included.
- Automatic Trailers: Sony Blu-Ray, Arena(sure to end up in my review queue), The River Murders(I wouldn’t mind this being in my review queue), Legend of the Millennium Dragon, Coloumbiana, and The Caller. Honestly, one of the best sets of automatic trailers I have seen in a while.
- Commentary with Michael Jai White, Scottie Epstein and Todd Duffee: I have to say, this is one of the funniest commentaries I have heard in a while. The three actors are one hundred percent frank and open with the listening audience. This was Michael’s first time as a director and you can kinda tell by his comments that the producers were more in charge than he was. It is also humorous to listen to Michael talk about wardrobe choices especially the shirts that Evan Peters decided to wear. One note, but Todd is recovering from bronchitis on the commentary so he doesn’t seem to speak as much as I was hoping for.
- Deleted Scenes 3:22: Two very weak deleted scenes. They do nothing to advance the movie and it is very obvious why they were left on the cutting room floor. I would have preferred a training behind the scenes featurette to see how they prepared for many of the fights.
It appears from my research that this movie like the one before it was going to be released in both DVD and Blu-ray. However, I only got a dvd copy and it seems like the plans for the Blu-ray were dropped. That is very unfortunate. I am not saying it would have been a huge seller but the completest in me says that it should been produced in both formats. The video and audio would have benefited a lot and it could have opened the door to more extras. But it was probably a hard sell to begin even if Michael Jai White did a very good in his directorial debut.
The movie itself provides us with a bunch of different back stories that come together in an excellent fashion. The fights are unfortunately not too spectacular but the training is very interesting to watch. This picture did have a hard time establishing a villain but in reality it probably didn’t need one. I lean towards recommending this film. It has a good story, some hilarious commentary, and a nice selection of trailers if you need to figure out what to see next. Hopefully Mr. White does some more movies, I think he would be perfect for the next Expendables flic. Have fun, fight fans.