I never thought I'd be nostalgic for Billy Blanks.
Like every other new kid on the mainstream block, Hollywood has wasted little time pillaging the success of the UFC and mixed martial arts (MMA) with an impotent portrait of teen angst titled Never Back Down.
From what I could tolerate of the trailer, I think I can summarize the plot:
Boy moves to new town. Boy meets Girl. Boy gets assaulted by Dominant Male. Girl Frowns. Boy learns how to kick ass from Brooding Mentor. Boy and Girl find love. Boy gets revenge on Dominant Male. Girl smiles.
Pretty complex stuff, but somehow I nailed it.
This shouldn't be confused with the D.O.A. Never Submit, a thrown-together and ham-handed script that eventually did submit - to its own stupidity.
It should however be confused with The Karate Kid, Showdown and The Power Within - since they're basically all the same movie.
Never Back Down was written by Chris Hauty and Robert Munic. Haughty is credited with the script for Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. Munic as the co-star of Stunt C*cks.
Somewhere between runaway pets and runaway boners you have the recipe for a good MMA movie. Or so they'll tell you at Summit Entertainment.
I could go on and on about how ridiculous the plot is but hey, that's what the trailer is for.
I will say how disappointed I am to see the talented Djimon Hounsou mired in this dreck. Brilliant in Amistad, he turns in a performance so rigid it reminds me of Old Chief Woodenhead from 1987's Creepshow 2.
David Mamet is also trying his hand at MMA with the upcoming Redbelt. While the jury's still out on how well it will depict the sport of MMA, the casting of Tim Allen in the lead role doesn't give me that warm, fuzzy feeling.
Until then I guess we'll have to settle for Never Back Down. Unless of course anyone wants to join me for a private screening of Gymkata.