James Baradinelli of Reel Press says of Never Back Down: "This movie isn't bad just because it follows a formula slavishly but because it does so without verve or passion."
On the other hand,
Armond White of New York Press says of Never Back Down: "Maybe it’s just a genre picture, but scene after scene in Never Back Down displays vitality and wit. This is the year’s first good-looking and fully enjoyable American movie."
So who to believe? How about Nick Lazo, resident film industry insider, who recently submitted a top 10 list. Nick Lazo was the assistant to the director (which is nowhere near as prestigious as assistant director, mind you) for the film "Never Backs Down.":
NICK LAZO NEVER BACKS DOWN
After submitting my “Top 10 Movies of 2008” piece (which was, yes, three films light), I realized that I left an 8th film off the list: The 2008 MTV Movie Award winner for Best Fight, Never Back Down. Orrin has suggested that I recount a few of my experiences with you here, and in an effort to redeem myself for leaving my very first Hollywood job off my top 10 list, I shall comply.
In the summer of 2007, just after I finished my four-year stint at James Madison University, I had the privilege of working in the camera department of the film Get Some (NBD’s original, working title) in Orlando, Florida. It was hot, it was tiring, and it was AWESOME.
I was in charge of “digital video,” which meant researching consumer video cameras, hiring high school look-a-like videographers, and shooting the fights from strategic places in the crowd. (Some of that footage ended up in the final cut—see if you can spot it!) I acted as a liaison between the Property, Editorial and Camera departments, making sure that all the cameras actors were holding/operating were setup correctly and functioned property, getting tape stock to the camera assistants and the processing facility in Miami, and that the editors were receiving all of the DV footage along with their film dailies. It was quite the challenge, and needless to say, I learned a lot.
At the end of principle photography I was offered a job assisting the director of the film, Jeff Wadlow, in LA. Fast forward one week and I’m living in Los Angeles, working through post-production of a major motion picture. To say I was lucky would be an incredible understatement.
The post-production team quickly became my family, and for 10-14 hours a day my small (though private) office was my home. Those eight months are some of the fondest in my memory, and the number of stories, inside jokes, $400 lunches and last minute preview fiascos are too numerous to recount here. What I will say is that Never Back Down was the experience of a lifetime. Watching the movie, after nearly 20 screenings, still makes for a fun evening with friends, and I’d suggest it to anyone looking for an entertaining way to spend the night.
Never Back Down has kick ass fights, hot ladies, and one hell of a supporting actor in Djimon Hounsou. What more can a movie lover ask for?
Never Back Down