Top 5000
Down 967 this week

Never Back Down (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Drama, Sport  |  14 March 2008 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 75,194 users   Metascore: 39/100
Reviews: 180 user | 138 critic | 22 from

At his new high school, a rebellious teen is lured into an underground fight club, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 28 Apr 2012
a list of 34 titles
created 08 Mar 2013
a list of 32 titles
created 23 Jun 2013
a list of 24 titles
created 26 Jun 2013
a list of 23 titles
created 1 month ago

Related Items

Search for "Never Back Down" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Never Back Down (2008)

Never Back Down (2008) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Never Back Down.
1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Four fighters with different backgrounds come together to train under an ex-MMA rising star and then ultimately have to fight each other.

Director: Michael Jai White
Stars: Michael Jai White, Dean Geyer, Alex Meraz
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Sequel to the 2002 film. This time, Heavyweight Champ George "Iceman" Chambers is sent to a Russian Jail on trumped-up drug charges.

Director: Isaac Florentine
Stars: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Boyka is back. This time he is fighting in the first ever inter-prison tournament with one knee.

Director: Isaac Florentine
Stars: Scott Adkins, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Mark Ivanir
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In Los Angeles, an ex-con takes the underground fighting world by storm in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend.

Director: Ben Ramsey
Stars: Michael Jai White, Julian Sands, Eamonn Walker
Crime | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A wrongfully expelled Harvard undergrad moves to London, where he is introduced to the violent underworld of football hooliganism.

Director: Lexi Alexander
Stars: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A rugby player is put up in a juvenile detention center. There he plays for the Highland Rugby team and ultimately plays against his father in the National Championships.

Director: Ryan Little
Stars: Sean Faris, Penn Badgley, Gary Cole
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The extremely talented Santiago Munez is given a chance at professional football, after being spotted by a scout who has ties with Newcastle United.

Director: Danny Cannon
Stars: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel
Undisputed (2002)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When heavyweight champion George 'Iceman' Chambers lands in prison, the resident gangster arranges a boxing match with the reigning prison champ.

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Peter Falk
Fighting (2009)
Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In New York City, a young counterfeiter is introduced to the world of underground street fighting by a seasoned scam artist, who becomes his manager on the bare-knuckling brawling circuit.

Director: Dito Montiel
Stars: Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, Luis Guzmán
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move - accompanied by big money and fame - tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel
8 Mile (2002)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make the most of what could be his final opportunity but his problems around gives him doubts.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger
Comedy | Crime | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.

Director: Peter Segal
Stars: Adam Sandler, Burt Reynolds, Chris Rock


Cast overview, first billed only:
Chele André ...
Beat Down Referee


At his new high school, a rebellious teen Jake Tyler is lured into an ultimate underground fighting club in a Backyard Fight, where he finds a mentor in a mixed martial arts veteran. After receiving threats to the safety of his friends and family, Jake seeks the mentoring of a veteran fighter, to train his mind and body for one final no-holds-barred elimination fight with his unrelenting personal nemesis and local martial arts champion Ryan McCarthy. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Win or Lose... Everyone Has Their Fight


Action | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving intense sequences of fighting/violence, some sexuality, partying and language - all involving teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 March 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Get Some  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,603,195 (USA) (14 March 2008)


$24,848,292 (USA) (30 May 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sean Faris broke his L3 spinous transverse process when Djimon Hounsou body slammed him. See more »


During the fight scene when Jake gets out of the car to fight the three guys in the Yellow Hummer, Max lifts up his video camera after Jake throws his first punch, but after the fight, when all of the students are watching the fight on the net at school, it shows that Max is recording before the fight even begins. See more »


Baja Miller: I'm Baja.
Jake Tyler: Like Mexico?
Baja Miller: Like my parents smoke too much weed.
See more »


References Troy (2004) See more »


Above and Below
Written by Sam Endicott
Performed by The Bravery
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"The Karate Kid" plus MMA (mixed martial arts); by-the-numbers all the way
14 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Don't tap-out yet!

From reading the title "Never Back Down," you get the impression that what you're about to watch will be something pretty macho and also pretty lame - a bad combination. The claims of this being a remake of "The Karate Kid" plus "Fight Club" and mixed martial arts is not undeserved or inappropriate. What it does aim to be, is a "Karate Kid" for the MTV generation and a generation of kids who may think that MMA is the future of the martial arts.

As a casual fan of mixed martial arts, the gladiator-style spectacle of this sport goes all the way back to the Greeks, with their sport Pankration (which pretty much resembles today's MMA). The idea of cross-training and mixing techniques of different fighting styles gained popularity in the 20th century with Bruce Lee and his theories on Jeet Kune Do (which when translated from Cantonese, means "the way of the intercepting fist"). However, mixed martial arts, as we know it today in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), PRIDE and other MMA organizations, gained widespread recognition when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler Royce Gracie won UFC 1 in 1993. Since then, a revolution has been sparked in the world of full-contact fighting. (On a side, UFC president Dana White considers Bruce Lee the "father of modern mixed martial arts.")

In "Never Back Down," which seeks to promote MMA for the mainstream, Jake Tyler (Sean Faris, who looks remarkably like a young Tom Cruise) is a promising football player who is relocated with his widowed mother and younger brother from their home in Iowa to the posh surroundings of upper-class Orlando, Florida; they opt for a cramped apartment in suburbia away from the surf and bikini-clad babes. Right away, it's established that Jake's a born brawler and has a chip on his shoulder, so right away the filmmakers are attempting to remove themselves from the "Karate Kid" legacy.

Right away, he locks eyes on the pretty blonde Baja Miller (Amber Heard, uh-huh), and she invites new-kid Jake to a party later that night. At this same party, he locks heads with rich-boy Ryan McCarthy (Cam Gigandet), a champion MMA fighter who gets the upper hand on Jake and beats him to a pulp in a no-holds-barred brawl.

All hope is not lost. On his first day of school, Jake had witnessed a fight happening under the bleachers, where an outcast kid named Max (Evan Cooper) was getting his butt kicked by Ryan and his goons. It just so happens that Max is being trained by the legendary MMA champ Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou) and takes him under his wing. So cue the MTV soundtrack and training montage.

In terms of being a simple martial arts movie, "Never Back Down" is nothing new. Plenty of martial arts movies have been made about the bullied good guy who gets his butt kicked, learns to fight from a master, and tests out his newfound skills by getting revenge on his tormentors in the ring. The by-the-numbers script by Chris Hauty pays attention to a few of the details of modern mixed martial arts training, but doesn't really go into any real depth about it, even if some of the harsher stuff is only glossed over for the sake of trying to mainstream it. But I also guess that this Jeff Wadlow-directed vehicle has seen way too many better movies, and it's inherently self-referential toward them.

"Never Back Down," I guess, is a fun way to spend $7.75 (what I spent); at the very least, even if the plot is formulaic, it's still entertaining. The acting, writing and plot are decent, but still, the performances, acting and writing, like everything else, are by-the-numbers. Although we don't really wade grimly through worthless dialogue scenes, we do perk up for the fighting and training sequences. The best thing about these scenes is that they're authentic: what the actors are doing is so "real" you "believe" it. As brutal as they are (even for a "PG-13"-rated movie), they're fairly exciting and there isn't a whole bunch of flashy camera cutting that takes away from the intensity of the full-contact punching and kicking. The camera stays put for the most part and isn't moving all over the place. It looks like the actors are really going at it, and it looks like it hurts. So you "believe" it in a way you don't really do for a lot of martial arts movies made in America these days.

And that's what no-holds-barred is all about, right?


61 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ever been in a Fight? blueshroom
why didn't he just call the cops? moushac
Does anybody else think girls are shown as really bloodthirsty in this? gonog998
Tom Cruise and Paul Walker clones? Ghost_Writer01
best movie ever. brunette929292
Enjoyed but depaul_rules
Discuss Never Back Down (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: