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.
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