Nearly unanimous in their contempt.
"Never Back Down" may be the most bloodthirsty revenge picture since "Walking Tall," and its deceptively sunny "O.C" teen vibe--not to mention its periodic reminders that violence doesn't solve anything, in between close-ups of bloody spittle flying through the air in slow motion--only adds to the weirdness.
I suspect that sometime in the near future the scenario in the adage "Give a monkey a typewriter and. ..." will actually happen. Studio executives tired of dealing with the diva whims of writers and directors will find a group of trained chimps and force them to crank out a film.
I also suspect the resulting film will show more imagination than the 110-minute waste of your life that is "Never Back Down."
Hastily thrown together to cash in on the popularity of Ultimate Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts spectacles, "Never Back Down" is not only witless and formulaic but inherently reckless and dangerous for its target teen audience.
The movie emphasizes brawn over brain, glorifying violence and pandering to the worst primal impulses of testosterone-filled teens with not even a whit of a moral lesson.
If you combined The Karate Kid with Fight Club, then threw in a dash of The O.C. and You Got Served then beat it with a stick until it was really stupid, you'd have something twice as smart as Never Back Down. The very height of teen-oriented idiocy, this wrong-headed ode to violence is aimed at two particular niches: vapid girls who want to watch sweaty, shirtless young men fight each other; and meathead guys who believe macho douchebaggery is the answer to all life's problems (and who also, incidentally, want to watch sweaty, shirtless young men fight each other).
If you watch this disaster, drop me a line and tell me about your experience. I want to know who is actually paying money to be tortured.