Never Back Down - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Never Back Down Reviews

Top Critic
Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 18, 2008
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Gregory Kirschling
Entertainment Weekly
March 19, 2008
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 | Original Score: D
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
March 17, 2008
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.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 14, 2008
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
March 14, 2008
Towering above all is Hounsou, whose performance grants Never Back Down a measure of dignity.
| Original Score: 1/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
March 14, 2008
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 | Original Score: 2/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 14, 2008
This movie isn't bad just because it follows a formula slavishly but because it does so without verve or passion.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
March 14, 2008
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.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
March 14, 2008
Never Back Down offers extreme fighting as the modern-day alternative to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
March 14, 2008
A formula flick that should have tapped out in the script stage.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
March 14, 2008
By the time ever-noble, ever-watchable Djimon Hounsou shows up to teach earnest young Jake honor and roundhouse kicks, the power-rock and smashmouth idiocy become like a fever dream, sweaty and hard to shake off.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Donald Munro
Miami Herald
March 14, 2008
Director Jeff Wadlow finds a sort of nobility in the subject matter than you might not expect for a film that consists in large part of bloodthirsty mobs clamoring for violence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jason McBride
Globe and Mail
March 14, 2008
Mr. Miyagi would not be pleased.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
March 14, 2008
Jeff Wadlow directed this exploitation flick, which seems designed for students on spring break.
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Philip Marchand
Toronto Star
March 14, 2008
Tyler does not live on planet Earth, but planet Hollywood formula, where the storm clouds of Fight Club hang over the once charming but now seedy landscape of The Karate Kid.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
March 14, 2008
The movie is just a cheesy, preposterous, semi-eroticized way of yelling, 'Fight! Fight!,' when two people go at it in the school cafeteria.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
March 14, 2008
With its thin characters and derivative plot, the finished product seems more like a marketing concept than an actual film.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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John Anderson
Variety
March 14, 2008
The human body can't do or withstand the things this movie claims it can, and one can only hope that pic's probable success doesn't trigger a dramatic rise in schoolyard body-slams, arm locks and chokeholds.
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Stephen Farber
Hollywood Reporter
March 14, 2008
At its core Never Back Down is just another teen exploitation movie, but middle-age viewers who wander into the theater might get the same giddy rush as the kids.
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 13, 2008
You have had soup deeper than this film, and a referee should have been on hand to call foul on the acting.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
March 13, 2008
In the future, movies this derivative will be made by robots.
| Original Score: C
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
March 13, 2008
Never Back Down is teensploitation at its most obvious -- a boneheaded cliche-rama built around six-pack-ab standoffs between preening studs.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
March 13, 2008
Never see movies that give stupid macho advice in their titles.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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Jim Ridley
Village Voice
March 11, 2008
A modest surprise: better acted than needed, better made than expected.