Well, they made another Never Back Down movie. This time, titled Never Back Down: Revolt, Michael Bisping is in it. I know I’ll have to review the series eventually, but with the new release, I figured I could catch this one and get some thoughts out about it.
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If you’ve never seen a Never Back Down movie, it’s basically an underground fight club but not Fight Club. It takes a Fast and the Furious approach with many of the baddies being driven by insidious intentions.
The movie puts a female-centric approach to the franchise. The main characters are Chechen, which is a nice touch. Chechnya and Dagestan are two Russian regions that produce top tier talent in the combat sports world.
The MMA readers will know Michael Bisping who is the former UFC middleweight champion. Bisping was a target for the film makers early on. Choreographer, Tim Man, did work on the movie but you could tell Bisping’s influence on some of the action sequences, especially the ones he is in.
The movie’s plot revolves around a rich couple that likes to bet on fights and even pay to have matches thrown. Our main characters, Anya and Aslan, refuse to throw a match because of reasons. As a matter of fact, why rich people betting on low level, regional MMA is beyond me. It seems that high stakes is more of what a gambler is after and low level MMA leaves a lot to be desired. That said, they did it and made money that way. Okay, then…
The Good of Never Back Down: Revolt
In all honesty, Never Back Down: Revolt is not the best movie in the series. The story is laborious and there isn’t much action.
One good thing about the movie is Michael Bisping. The former UFC champ was larger than life every time he was on screen. While his lines were a bit stale at times (“I to hit girls”), one could blame that on the writing of the movie, much like Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars prequel series. Bisping’s henchman attitude, how he walked, how he talked, was pure bad guy, which is awesome to see from the former champion.
The final fight scene has a cool set. It’s a mansion and a raised platform the women fight on. While we saw the familiar cage in the beginning, this was a nod to the lei tai to an ancient fighting stage in China. While it may not have been intentional, it is cool to see some new fighting arenas in movies. The cage and ring are all too common and this was unique.
Never Back Down: Revolt was a bit of a drag. While the choreography wasn’t the best, it passed the eye test from a casual standpoint. But it did rely on pro wrestling camera techniques in the fighting and that was off-putting to me. The real problem is that the movie was a movie based on fighting. But in the middle of the movie, there was a lull and very little action. It made the movie drag on and make me wonder when the next fight scene is going to be. That is what the movie is about, after all.
The story was a bit weird for me as well. Why are these rich people betting on regional MMA? A Conor McGregor fight seems more the rich’s speed. But one could argue that they can’t fix matches at that high of a level so I won’t harp on that too much.
Another of my issues in the movie was with the girls. They were all held captive to be forced to fight. Cool, I can get behind that. But when Anya shows up, they all decide to break out then. The directors attempted to make it seem Anya was the mastermind but it didn’t come off that way at all.
Finally there’s the “boss fight” where Anya takes on the head honcho lady, Mariah. There is a final showdown and it’s over before you know it. No drama, no build up. No stakes, the girls are already out. Anya just kills her. Okay then.
Never Back Down: Revolt Rating: 2.5/10
To be honest, watching Never Back Down: Revolt was a chore. From the shallow story set up, to the lull in the middle, and the anti-climatic ending, watching the latest installment of the series seems like a drag. There are some spots that are pretty cool, and Michael Bisping does well in the movie. But all in all, the movie is severely lacking. Is it horrendous and not worth a watch? Maybe. But if you’ve watched the Never Back Down series, you might want to see it through for some odd reason. Maybe to see the dog get put down.
Or you want to support Michael Bisping, Olivia Popica, Tommy Bastow, and the rest of the cast in the movie who did spend a lot of time making this movie. Sure it isn’t good, but Bisping is cool as the other side of a pillow and has promise to become a really good actor and do some action movie roles. Give Bisping your dollars if anything.