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Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet, Evan Peters, Leslie Hope ... see more see more... , Djimon Hounsou , Wyatt Smith , Affion Crockett , Neil Brown Jr. , Lauren Leech , Tilky Jones , Steven Crowley , Tom Nowicki , David Zelon , Chris Lindsay , Kyle Sabihy , Patric Knutsson , Cameron Francis , Jeremy Palkowetz , Anthony Matos , Danny Hernandez , Justin Williams , Jon McIntosh , Chele Andre , David J. Perez , Jocelyn Binder , Deon Stein , Steve Zurk , Reed Baumgarten , Devin Higgins , Jennifer Miller , Delphine French , Joe Williams , Angel Hernandez , Rachael Thompson , Ryan Frank Rayonec , Ryan Watson , Joop Katana , Frank Santore III , Joseph Cortez , Craig Raboteau , Daniel Lovette , Tony Fuh , Jonathan Eusebio , Peter Allende , Remington Reed , Joshua Mueller

Jake Tyler is a tough kid who leads with his fists, and often, with his heart. He is the new kid in town with a troubled past. He has recently moved to Orlando, Fla., with his family who has relocated... read more read more... to support his younger brother's shot at a professional tennis career. Jake was a star athlete on the football team at home, but in this new city he is an outsider with a reputation for being a quick tempered brawler. Making an attempt to fit in, at the invitation of a flirtatious classmate, Baja, Jake goes to a party where he is unwittingly pulled into a fight with a bully named Ryan McDonald. While he is defeated and humiliated in the fight, a classmate introduces himself to Jake and tells him about the sport known as Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA). He sees a star in Jake and asks that he meet with his mentor, Jean Roqua,. It is immediately apparent to Jake that MMA is not street fighting, but rather an art form he wants to master. Roqua will take Jake under his wing, but it is up to Jake to find the patience, discipline, willingness and reason within him to succeed. For Jake, there is much more at stake than mere victory. His decision will not just settle a score; it will define who he is.

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34% liked it

608,732 ratings


22% liked it

86 critics

DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008

Stats: 16,210 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (16,210)

  • November 29, 2013
  • September 18, 2011
    It delivers a serious beatdown. It`s The Karate Kid for a new generation of martial arts fans. A wickedly cool and tremendosuly entertaining action-packed movie with a great cast and a great soundtrack. A knockout. Djimon Hounsou gives a powerful and thunderous performance.
  • September 11, 2011
    Often stiff, dull, and bland, NEVER BACK DOWN is no ROCKY. Sure, it's a sports movie that's pretty much all about getting revenge, but besides the fighting, there's really nothing much to it. Also, the soundtrack has some good songs on it, but then again, for a sports film, mus... read moreic is absolutely irrelevant. The acting here really disappoints, can think of my further explanation from there, as acting is always bad in the same way. I just saw that they made a sequel to this, and I have two things to say to that: 1. wow and 2. I'm glad it is a "direct-to-video" release rather than a theatrical release.
  • August 5, 2011
    Win or Lose... Everyone Has Their Fight

    Saw it again! Very Nice! Great fights with very good moves you don't see often in movies and you could learn some moves from this film. Djimon Hounsou as usual sweating like crazy but he did good as supporting actor. Nice young cast, Cam G... read moreigandet has the exact same body I want, we'll see..

    Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) helps his high-school football team win an important game. A frustrated player from the opposing team makes taunts about Jake's father, who died while driving drunk. Infamously-hot-tempered Jake starts a brawl with the opposing player. Spectators capture the brawl with mobile phones and video-cameras. Soon, the brawl is uploaded to YouTube.

    Jake gets thrown off the team for brawling, but takes it in stride because he is leaving this school anyway. He and his younger brother Charlie (Wyatt Henry Smith) are moving with their widowed mom to Orlando, Florida where Charlie has received a tennis scholarship. The Tyler brothers are close despite Jake's penchant for fighting and getting into trouble, which greatly upsets their mom (Leslie Hope).

    At his new school, Jake has a hard time fitting in. He catches the eye of Baja Miller (Amber Heard), a pretty classmate who flirts with him. Later, Jake notices fellow student Max Cooperman (Evan Peters) getting beaten up on campus. Jake rushes to Max's aid, only to discover that the "bullying" he disrupted was actually a street-kickboxing match. Everybody present, including Max, demands that the astonished Jake leave.

    At school the next day, Max lets it be known that there are videos on the internet of Jake's football brawl, which has gained him a positive reputation on campus. Max invites Jake to come and learn mixed martial arts with his instructor, while Baja invites Jake to a party at her boyfriend Ryan McCarthy's mansion. Jake declines the former offer but accepts the latter. At McCarthy Manor that night, host Ryan (Cam Gigandet) - having seen the internet footage - challenges Jake to demonstrate his brawling prowess in a fight against...Ryan himself. When Jake refuses the challenge, letting Ryan know that Jake came to the party only because Baja invited him. Ryan kisses Baja in front of Jake to verify whose girlfriend she is. Jake realizes that he's being set up, and attempts to leave - until Ryan makes taunts about the disgraceful death of Jake's dad. An angry Jake accepts the challenge but is brutally defeated by Ryan. Baja appears disgusted with Ryan for continually beating on Jake, despite the fact that Jake was obviously down and out.

    A day later, Max comes to Jake's house, and repeats the invitation to come and learn Mixed Martial Arts from Max's instructor, Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou). This time, Jake accepts. He meets Max at Roqua's gym and is introduced to Roqua himself. Roqua briefly interviews Jake...who, he senses, is there for the wrong reasons. Nonetheless, Roqua allows Jake to train with him - both in class, and personally before classes - on the condition that Jake does not fight anybody for any reason outside the gym. Jake notices that Roqua apparently lives in the gym.

    The night after Jake's first training session, Baja comes over to his house to apologize for setting him up at the party. Jake quickly retorts after Baja tells him about her school life, saying "Does that mean I'm meant to feel sorry for you because you're popular?" The next day, Baja confronts Ryan and breaks up with him on account that he beat Jake up. In his anger, he grabs Baja's arm and refuses to let go, even after she pleads. Jake appears and attempts to stop it, only to which Ryan insults his late father, saying "You're your old man...was". This insult has a negative impact on Jake's training that afternoon. At the gym, he is too aggressive, and, Roqua, sensing this, tells him to go home to cool off. Max gives Jake a ride in his Ford Mustang. At a set of lights, three guys in a yellow Hummer relentlessly and annoyingly beep their horn at Max. Jake, still angry from Ryan's insult, and spurred on by the repetitive horn, goes out to confront the three guys. He beats them all up on the street, and the footage is filmed by Max, and uploaded and spread throughout the internet. This further improves his social profile within the school, now being the second-most popular boy after Ryan.

    The next training session, and unfortunately for Jake, Roqua sees that Jake has wounds on his knuckles which could have only come from fighting against his rules and banishes Jake from the gym. When Roqua goes grocery shopping, Jake confronts him and admits that Roqua was right: he signed up to train for the wrong reasons. Jake also tells Roqua the late Mr. Tyler's story; evidently, Jake feels that his mother blames him for her husband's demise. Roqua then tells his story: he had an younger brother, who was an excellent mixed-martial artist. One day in a bar, a local bully mouthed off at young Joseph, who was about to fight the bully himself. His brother won the brawl, only to be shot and killed by the bully's friends. Jean's father blames him for permitting the situation to escalate into violence which could have been avoided. Jean left home over that; he has not seen his father, or even set foot in Brazil, for the past seven years.

    Jake declines to enter The Beatdown. When Ryan discovers this turn of events he invites Max to McCarthy Manor on false pretenses. There Ryan engages Max in combat and beats him brutally. Fearing for his friends' safety, Jake reverses his decision and enters The Beatdown after all - only to face Ryan. Roqua hears of this as well, and confronts Jake with an ultimatum: Jake will never be allowed near the gym again if he even goes to The Beatdown, much less fights in it. Jake - realizing that Roqua is trying to prevent him from making the same mistake which Roqua himself made with his own father - answers that Roqua's only mistake was not doing what Jake himself is about to do. Said mistake wasn't brawling; it was evading the conflict at hand, rather than confronting and resolving it.

    At The Beatdown, both Jake and Ryan reach the semi-finals. Then Ryan is disqualified for eye-gouging. In view of this, Jake taps out one second into his semi-final bout (because his purpose for entering The Beatdown to begin with is no longer present). Outside the club, Ryan attacks Jake and they have a spectacular brawl in the club parking lot. Ultimately Jake wins the fight. (In the 2 Disc and Blu Ray versions, there is a deleted scene where Ryan tries to challenge Jake to a rematch.) Jake replies to this by bringing to light the fact the fans are chanting for the rematch unsatified with the fight they just saw, and subsequently they want to watch just simply two guys "kill" each other and do not care about the sport itself. This would cause Ryan to realize he had basically been a puppet to gladitorial combat for the amusment of others and not the one on top and in control he thought he was. Angered and embarrassed he yells at the crowd and runs off.

    Jake has won the respect of all his fellow students, up to and including Ryan. For the first time in a long while, Roqua closes the gym and goes to visit his family in Brazil.
  • June 23, 2011
    Really good film with a two gorgeous and very toned men! Cam Gigandet is beautiful. A must see!
  • April 3, 2011
    Yes this does kinda add up to The Karate Kid for the Youtube generation, with an MTV makeover. This time using MMA basically like UFC, cage fighting using any fighting style. Despite the obvious plot and seeing this type of film more than a few times, this is pretty decent. It ha... read mores a strong cast and the fight scenes are well shot. There is an extra on the DVD to get each of the fights in the film broken down into how they were filmed etc which is pretty good...all this and the beautiful Amber Heard!
  • August 22, 2010
    I know that movie like this one won't have an original or great story, but they can put a little twist to make the movie more interesting and I think it works in this movie... The story was very standard, a new boy in the college trying to deal with the most popular guy and fell ... read morein love with his girlfriend... And when he knows that he'd been humiliated, he search for a mentor for a revenge... Even that, I like the twist that they gave in here like how Ryan must face Tyler in 1st round, but actually it was wrong... And then there's the scene when Ryan and Jake must face each other in the finals, but Ryan has been disqualified but they still have their final battle outside the arena... It was works for me... And the performance from Sean Faris and Cam Gigandet pleased me, while Academy Award nominee-Djimon Hounsou presence in this movie made this movie not turn into a B-class movie because of his good performance in here... Overall, it was a really good teenagers movie with a standard story but a little twist to made it more interesting... The one thing that I wondering about was the duration of this movie because usually the duration for this type was 90 minutes, but this one almost made it to 120 minutes...!!!
  • August 9, 2010
    The fight scenes in this movie are actually pretty cool and entertaining, but the rest of the film is completely predictable. The script has it's cheesy moments also. I enjoyed the movie, but I probably wouldn't watch it again.
  • April 8, 2010
    "Win or Lose... Everyone Has Their Fight"

    At his new high school, a rebellious teen is lured into an underground fight club, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran.


    Neve... read morer Back Down is one of those movies you may happen upon while surfing the available films released on television and, out of curiosity or lack of better choices, inadvertently watch. The story by Chris Hauty seems to be a popular one, so many versions of this plot are floating around out there: angry lad meets his match in a high school kick boxing cum brutal fighting smooth ruffian and finds his way back to some semblance of normalcy by a dedicated coach. Jeff Wadlow directs this endless violence parade with some interesting faces - the angry young man Jake is portrayed by Tom Cruise lookalike Sean Faris, his 'underground fight club' opponent Ryan is Cam Gigandet - but the reason to keep watching this otherwise bloody mess of a film is the always fine Djimon Hounsou as the coach with experience and heart Jean Roqua. There is little character development and the dialogue is thankfully sparse, but if watching young men beat each other up is entertaining for you, then this is a film to sit through - unless you happen to locate a good book to read.
  • fb733768972
    January 13, 2010
    I am extremely mixed about this movie! The story is very average, but the fighting is incredible! I do give this film credit for trying many things that a lot of films fail to do!

Critic Reviews

Gregory Kirschling
March 19, 2008
Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly

Movie is dopey. And with its emphasis on stupid violence, xylophone abs, and getting yourself on YouTube, it's yet another product that makes you feel bad about today's youth culture. Full Review

Richard Roeper
March 17, 2008
Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper

I laughed so much at the litany of clichés that I finally had to admit I was entertained from start to finish by this cheesy knock-off.

Michael Phillips
March 14, 2008
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

It's a little Karate Kid, a smidge of Fight Club...a lot of The O.C. (evil boy Gigandet played an evil boy on that series), and presto: probable hit. Full Review

Hank Sartin
March 14, 2008
Hank Sartin, Time Out New York

The eternal battle between the hot-but-arrogant blond and the hot-and-likable brunet continues on new turf in the almost gleefully bad Never Back Down. Full Review

Tom Keogh
March 14, 2008
Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

Towering above all is Hounsou, whose performance grants Never Back Down a measure of dignity. Full Review

Ruthe Stein
March 14, 2008
Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle

The fights are parceled out at intervals during the last half, all leading to a climactic battle. But it's hard to build suspense when you know it is coming and you know who will win. Full Review

James Berardinelli
March 14, 2008
James Berardinelli, ReelViews

This movie isn't bad just because it follows a formula slavishly but because it does so without verve or passion. Full Review

Roger Moore
March 14, 2008
Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel

Even though it's as predictable as a pro-wrestling match, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in the nervous energy of youth and testosterone. Full Review

Jeannette Catsoulis
March 14, 2008
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Never Back Down offers extreme fighting as the modern-day alternative to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

Kyle Smith
March 14, 2008
Kyle Smith, New York Post

A formula flick that should have tapped out in the script stage. Full Review

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    • Ryan McCarthy: Step in or back the hell out.
    • Ryan McCarthy: Well, we gotta give the people what they want.
    • Ryan McCarthy: Its got to end with you looking like a bitch.
    • Ryan McCarthy: If you gonna be the best, you have to take out the best.
    • Jake Tyler: This is my fight. Everyone's got one.
    • Jean Roqua: Never give up, never back down!

Never Back Down : Watch Free on TV

Never Back Down Trivia

  • Who does Sean run into in Never Back Down ?  Answer »
  • Who was the teacher who taught mixed martial arts in Never Back Down ?  Answer »
  • Ryan brought up who to make Jake fight in Never Back Down ?  Answer »
  • Who was Jake's personal nemesis in Never Back Down ?  Answer »

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