Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (Michael Jai White) 2011

Yes, this movie exists.

I thought movies had to be somewhat popular in order to get a sequel.  I saw the original but, then again, I somehow got saddled with the role of crappy MMA movie reviewer.  The first Never Back Down was the cinematic equivalent of an upper decker which was pretty much panned by everyone.  It was pretty much a CW version of Karate Kid where a beefy high school student was getting picked on at school by bullies.  Beefy kid befriends an MMA trainer with a “mysterious dark past“ who takes him under his wing.  Djimon Hounsou teaches his young pupil that violence is never the answer and to prove that point he has his student take him on in an underground fighting tournament called the Beatdown.  Yeah, the moral of the story didn’t quite fit now that I think about it for a whole second.  Now, even though NBD was shit, I could actually find it somewhat entertaining in the fact it was so bad it was funny.  The bad guy is so over the top he might as well be sweeping the leg while wearing a Darth Vader helmet over his handlebar mustache which he twirls.  Seeing Never Back Down 2 in my rental store, I just had to see if it was even worse than the original.

Now how do they continue the story from the original?  What characters do they bring back?  The answers are they don’t and none.  Like many direct to DVD sequels, it is not so much about continuing the storyline but about making a movie with a similar plot and slapping on the sequel title of what you are ripping off.  This sequel though is starring and directed by Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite).  It is about four high school students who all come to be taught by MMA trainer with a mysterious dark past Case (White).  Stuff happens involving the students which leads them to sorting out their differences in another Beatdown tournament.

So does The Beatdown live up to the high potential set up by the original NBD?  Well…yeah.  I guess that’s one way to put it.  This movie is freaking stupid.  Now maybe my brain has atrophied by seeing all these shitty MMA movies.  But like the first NBD, this movie is so freaking stupid that I actually think it’s funny.  One of the reasons I like it is Michael Jai White who I swear was still somewhat channeling Black Dynamite.  In the movie this guy beats up six honky racist cops on the way to the Beatdown and he only has to spend a few hours in jail.  There is another scene where someone insults one of his student’s mothers.  His advice you would think would be something along the lines of “Words are meaningless and you shouldn’t be provoked to violence by such an ignorant person.“  No his response is “You gonna let him talk about your mamma like that?  Punch him in the face!“

This movie is completely divorced from any kind of reality and the characters act as if they are aliens with no idea of what tact or manners are.  There is one of the characters who’s personal problem is his father left his mother to be with his gay lover.  What is the response from one of his close friends?  “Wow that sucks dick…kind of like your father.“  Also to make a villain in this movie, one of Case’s students goes all Private Pyle and goes on a homicidal rampage killing all the people who talked bad about him.  In addition to killing people with his MMA skills, he is trying to frame Case for the murders.  You see, I couldn’t make this shit up.  I’m too smart to think so dumb about a movie.  My only natural response is to laugh cause otherwise I would have had to cry myself to sleep.

The action in this movie is actually well done.  This could be due to the fact director/star White has done this stuff all his life so he can choreograph decent enough fight scenes.  Plus this sort of this actually works well with the micro budget of these direct to DVD movies.  There are also plenty of scenes of Case dominating people to show he has balls the size of beach balls.

Now I don’t know if I would recommend it to bad movie aficionados.  Even though I was able to laugh at it, it’s not as insane as say a Troll 2 or The Room.  I was able to find the silver lining in being stuck watching a direct to DVD sequel to NBD.  But who knows?  If you were able to enjoy the original for being so shit-tastic maybe you can enjoy a Black Dynamited sequel.


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