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Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

There is no such thing as dissatisfying Mixed Martial Arts fights. However, we must not be narrow minded about MMA in other venues. Never Back Down (the original) worked because of Amber Heard and Cam Gigandet. They stole the show and looked (respectively) stunning and death-defying in the process. The formula was there for the taking but successful sequels always develop their own unique storyline. Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown has a familiar face and a comparable plot, but it lacks the excitement and believability that made its predecessor so delicious.

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Ong Bak 3

Ong Bak 3

Ong Bak 3 begins with reminiscences of Tien's (Tony Jaa) history of intense training and his suffering from the ultimate betrayal. The hot opening of new footage then begins. No grimace is spared as our shackled warrior receives a vicious beating known as the "13 punishments" doled out by Lord Rajasena (Sarunyu Wongkrajang). This is a brutal beating whereby Tien is smacked with 13 bo sticks by trained warriors. He nearly overcomes their massive numbers advantage, but eventually reinforcements arrive. Outnumbered, Tien ends up bloodied and battered both in mind and spirit. Tien is then tortured. His hands are broken and battering rams are used to crush his skull. This is just another day at the office for our fearless fighter.

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Fighting

Fighting

Typecasting is a funny thing. There are times when it can work in one's favor. The late great Pat Morita (Mr. Miagi) was the go to "Asian guy" in the 70s and 80s, and he parlayed it into an amazing career. I suppose it didn't hurt that he was a brilliant actor who excelled at the trade, but that's beside the point. Some actors do all they can to break from being forced into any kind of characterization that tends to repeat itself film after film, even if said characterization is what gave them their break.

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Never Back Down

Never Back Down

Back to the blender analogy: What is the result of The Karate Kid, Rocky, 90210, Dawson's Creek, and UFC mixed together? Never Back Down. Everybody in this movie is good-looking. The guys sport 9-12 packs, the women are young, naïve and seemingly love men acting like men, not like sissified/feminized sensitive teenagers...

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