Parents' Guide to

Never Back Down

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Bloody fight film has heart, but it's no champion.

Movie PG-13 2008 113 minutes
Never Back Down Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 18+

It Is Cheesy🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀

Very Parody & Funny Comedy & Really Parody & Funny Comedy Good Actor It Is Cheesy🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀🧀 00s 10s 20s 2000s 2010s 2020s
age 12+

Good Movie With Great Theme

This movie does have some suggestive content and plenty of hand to hand violence. Regarding the violence, if you let your kids watch boxing, football or any other violent sport, this should be fine. Whoever is saying there is no positive message clearly didnt watch the movie, or doesnt understand how positive MMA can be for character development. The movie has a theme of reconciling ones past mistakes, and taking ownership of the problems in your life. If you can get past pg-13 conent, you can learn a lot from this film.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (13 ):

Fight movies have their place in cinematic history (Rocky, anyone?); done right, they manage to capture the humanity in the brutality and the poetry in the punch, but NEVER BACK DOWN doesn't. The cuts are so quick that you can't appreciate any technique. And though, like better sports films, the film does attempt to reveal the internal struggles that fuel the physical ones, it does so with overly broad strokes. There's little nuance or complication and so many fight scenes that when the movie finally gets to the big beat down, it's almost anti-climactic -- it just feels like yet another battle. The movie's also riddled with cliches; there's a supportive girlfriend, a funny sidekick, mantras ("Control the outcome"), and even a race between the mentor and the mentee that's a straight rip-off of Rocky.

Director Jeff Wadlow does manage to drum up some excitement by letting the action unspool with a light touch. The script isn't memorable, but the dialogue is believable, and star Faris is blessed with an easy smile and a likable swagger. And Hounsou, though he delivers a one-note performance, is still fun to watch.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 14, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: July 28, 2008
  • Cast: Cam Gigandet , Djimon Hounsou , Sean Faris
  • Director: Jeff Wadlow
  • Inclusion Information: Black actors
  • Studio: Summit Entertainment
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: mature thematic material involving intense sequences of fighting/violence, some sexuality, partying and language - all involving teens.
  • Last updated: January 28, 2024

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