Tag Archives: Never Back Down 2

10 Worst Films of 2011

It’s a Christmas Day miracle!

Yeah, you better believe it. I have finally finished watching and reviewing all the 2011 movies (ie, movies with a 2011 release date according to IMDB) on my list and I’m ready to deliver my worst and best lists of the (last) year. Sure it’s a little late, but better late than never, right? Take that, 2011!

Anyway, it was very interesting going through all 110 movies on the list and seeing whether I still felt the same about the movies so long after I initially rated them (well, for the older ones at least). There were indeed some differences. For example, I could have sworn I gave Transformers 3 a rating much worse than the 2.5 stars it received, and from memory I thought Something Borrowed should have been worse than 2 stars. On the other hand, having seen The Adjustment again more recently I think perhaps it deserved more than a 3.5. But to keep it to first impressions I decided not to change anything.

To make it easier for myself, I highlighted all the movies with ratings more than 4.25 and less than 2. And guess what? I ended up with exactly 10 films for each! Another Christmas Day miracle!

OK, so here goes. First up, counting down my 10 worst films of 2011! Click on the title to read the full review for each film.

10. Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)

You don’t wanna mess with us, punk

You know, the sequel to MMA flick Never Back Down is not actually that bad when placed in context, which is a straight-to-DVD film with low expectations. The fight scenes are OK, but its recycled plot, laughable subplots and cringeworthy dialogue were enough to propel it into my top 10 worst of the year. Just.

9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Tom Hanks piggy backs annoying kid

This was supposed to be a triumphant tear jerker about post-9/11 American, but instead it came across as exploitative and pretentious, and probably the worst Best Picture Oscar nominee ever. The kid (Thomas Horn) deserves some kind of award for portraying the most irritating child character in recent years.

8. Your Highness (2011)

Natalie Portman's best performance ever
Natalie Portman’s best performance ever

I really wanted to like this fantasy comedy farce but it turned out to be one of the year’s biggest disappointments. Perfect example of where there was not enough script and too much improv for a bunch of stoned actors/comedians who needed to be reined in and saved from themselves.

7. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

OMG, we're in a movie that's exactly the same as the last two!
OMG, we’re in a movie that’s exactly the same as the last two!

As long as they keep making them I’m pretty sure Paranormal Activity movies will keep landing on my worst movies list every year. This one was actually one of the better ones, which really says it all about this gimmicky franchise that has as much trouble filling up the screen time as it does producing genuine scares.

6. The Art of Getting By (2011)

Let's see who can stare at the other person longer
Let’s see who can stare at the other person longer

Probably the most pointless film of the year in which a kid tries to get by with minimal effort, meets a girl, falls for her, kind of, not really, no one cares. Whatever the message was, it didn’t come out.

5. Jack and Jill (2011)

Two Adam Sandlers laugh at an Adam Sandler movie while everyone else pouts
Two Adam Sandlers laugh at an Adam Sandler movie while everyone else pouts

Adam Sandler movies used to make me so happy, but now they just make me sad — and angry. Jack and Jill is yet another example of how far he has fallen. Not only is it terribly unfunny and mean spirited, the film takes a dump all over screen legend Al Pacino by allowing him to be involved.

4. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Watching real garden gnomes would have been more exciting
Watching real garden gnomes would have been more exciting

Possibly the worst animated film of the last two decades. The last cartoon I fell asleep in was Cars, and that was because I was really tired. This one had no excuse. The dearth of laughs was terrifying and there was no originality apart from the fact that they are garden gnomes. And as nearly always, the 3D was a waste of everyone’s time.

3. The Darkest Hour (2011)

Why am I screaming?!
Why am I screaming?!

The idea was good on paper and the trailers looked promising, but invisible alien enemies turned out to be oh-so-lame…until you saw the aliens and realized that was even lamer. Despite all the running and supposed danger, for whatever reason, The Darkest Hour just had no pulse. With no characters to root for and almost zero excitement, it was indeed the darkest hour — well, 89 minutes, to be exact.

2. ATM (2011)

I think people are watching us watching them watching us
Hang on, I think people are watching us watching them watching us

Ordinarily, a film released straight to video-on-demand and DVD should not be this high up on the list, but ATM does star Alice Eve, Brian Geraghty and Josh Peck, who aren’t exactly unknowns. My problem with it is that it’s just too unbelievably stupid and nonsensical, to the point where I actually started getting annoyed and wanted the protagonists to get killed for their lack of IQ. A slasher movie where everything is so predictable is never a good thing either.

1. New Year’s Eve (2011)

Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron being forced to pretend there's chemistry between them
Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron being forced to pretend there’s chemistry between them

The honour of the worst film of 2011 goes to New Year’s Eve, a new low in saccharine ensemble films where a bunch of stars are forced together on the screen because of some arbitrary common theme. How they managed to make a film with 20+ Hollywood A-listers that sucked so bad is beyond me. No one is given enough screen time to do anything meaningful and nearly all the characters/story arcs are unlikable or contrived or both. It was my only reviewed film of 2011 to be rated less than a 1 star (I actually gave it a 0.5), meaning the gap between this film and the my no. 2 film is wider than the gap between no. 2 and no. 9. The only positive thing I can say about it is that at least it wasn’t in 3D. Eek.

That was depressing. Next up, my 10 favourite films of 2011!

PS: It actually wasn’t such a bad year in terms of bad movies. A lot of average and below average stuff but not many made me want to pull my hair out.

DVD Review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (2011)

There are two versions of this poster: one with the MMA dudes, the other with Dean Geyer. I picked the one with Dean Geyer.

For those who have ever watched Australian Idol, have you ever wondered whatever happened to that Dean Geyer guy, the South African teen heartthrob who came third in 2006?  Well, after his music career failed to fully take off, it appears he has switched to acting, and his first feature is the lead role in Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown (!)  Holy crap!

Here’s a reminder of Dean the singer.


The original Never Back Down was about a beefy high school kid (Sean Faris) who moves to Florida, gets his butt kicked by Cam Gigandet, and decides to get even by training MMA with the guy from Blood Diamond (Djimon Hounsou).

And let’s face it: Never Back Down wasn’t very good, and the only reason it has kind of endured is because of Cam Gigandet’s amazingly ripped bod.  I am not gay.

I think it moved

Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown essentially recycles the original from head to toe, except Djimon Hounsou is replaced by Spawn (ie, Michael Jai White — who also happens to be the director), and the Sean Faris character is split into four different college kids — the aforementioned Dean Geyer as a wrestler and the new kid on the block (with his long locks trimmed down), Alex Meraz (one of the werewolves from Twilight) as an ex-boxer, Todd Duffee as a gentle giant and Scott Epstein as the wimpy comic book store clerk (the last two of which are real life MMA fighters).

The obligatory eye candy waiting to be stolen away is played this time by Jillian Murray (probably best known for the seminal motion picture, Wild Things: Foursome), replacing Amber Heard from the first film.

The only returning character is Evan Peters, the obnoxious computer geek MMA fighter wannabe who’s always recording everything on video — he’s the one who organises ‘The Beatdown’ and I suppose is the catalyst who gets the ball rolling.

You don’t need me to tell you this movie sucked.  To be fair, it’s probably one of the less criminal straight-to-DVD sequels in recent times.  Spawn looked mean and buff, the fighting is well choreographed (perhaps more realistic, but nowhere as slick as the original), the acting is surprisingly decent and the kids are nice to look at.

But it also happens to be plagued with all the things you’d expect — a truly atrocious plot, even worse sub-plots (including corrupt cops, girlfriend envy, stripper moms and gay dads), cringe-worthy dialogue and horribly formulated characters.  In fact, the four young protagonists are all douches, maybe with the exception of Todd Duffee’s character, but it’s quite hilarious that they were trying to pass him off as a mild-mannered college kid — all you have to do is paint him green and he’s the Hulk!

You might wonder why films like Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown get made in the first place.  Well, I can almost imagine how this movie came into being.  Michael Jai White probably rented Never Back Down one rainy afternoon and thought, damn, I should have been in that movie instead of the Blood Diamond guy!  Let’s just make another one with me as the mentor, hire some kids for cheap, make some light modifications to the script and let’s make some money!

And the sad thing is, it probably will make a lot, paving the way for Never Back Down 3.

1.75 out of 5 stars

Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown will be released straight to DVD in Australia on 21September 2011