I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

early review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown

tn_nbd2Two years ago give or take a couple days I wrote about NEVER BACK DOWN as part of some back-to-school themed reviews. To commemorate the historic second anniversary of that review they have decided to make a part 2.

If you never saw the first one I forgive you. And I think you’re gonna be okay without it. Of the many mixed martial arts/underground fighting movies of the last few years it’s the slickest and most Hollywood. It’s the standard teen subculture movie but with MMA instead of breakdancing or BMX bikes or whatever. Troubled new kid in town wants girl, she belongs to popular rich bully who also is the king of a notorious underground fighting tournament. I can’t recommend it when BLOOD AND BONE, DAMAGE, UNDISPUTED II-III and FIGHTING have all come out in recent years, but I did sort of enjoy the absurdity of these allegedly high school age dudes having their own Kumite Lite.

NEVER BACK DOWN 2 is the DTV sequel and it happens to be directed by the star of two of the above-mentioned better underground fight movies, Mr. Michael Jai White.

I was hoping NBD2 was just gonna take the name and do something totally unrelated, but MJW and original writer Chris Haughty do about half sticking with the feel of the original and half straightup badass. They keep the same corny teenager shit (now they’re college age) but since it’s done on a way lower budget it’s a different type of shitty. In part 1 there was a party scene with fancy crane shots of hundreds of people dancing outside at this big house overlooking a beach. In this movie the party could be in an actual dorm room or basement, there’s an ugly tie-dyed sheet hanging on the wall, but the camera floats around and changes speeds to show you how awesome it is. To be fair there is a guy about to score with a girl and another girl comes over and joins, so it’s a decent party.

mp_nbd2There’s still the new kid at school who’s ashamed of his dad and has his eye on the hot girlfriend of the douchey guy, but this time the two are forced to learn together along with two other fighters. Their sensei is MJW himself as Case Walker, gruff ex-con fallen MMA star living and teaching out of a beat-up old trailer named Daisy on a lot he doesn’t own. He says “You pay me in blood, sweat and money” but also asks for a 20 lb. bag of potatoes as part of his first week’s fee.

Case is a great character, a scary Mr. Miyagi who’s not about to give his Daniel-San a car, and says he doesn’t expect to get any Christmas cards from his students. Which doesn’t mean he’s Jewish, it means they’re not exactly gonna have warm and fuzzy feelings for him. But he’s being modest. Even Pai Mei gets Christmas cards. Still, Case is an intimidating dude. One of his rules is “My bad, I forgot to mention shut the fuck up.”

During the teen movie parts MJW doesn’t seem like a better than average director, but he sure knows how to handle his own parts. Case has a classic entrance where he steps out of some shadows, just looks at a bunch of armed street thugs and causes them to run away. In other words he makes them back down! Don’t they know you never do that? Case doesn’t talk when he doesn’t have to, is rarely nice and never smiles. A great performance and character.

I guess they figured they needed some “real actors” in this thing besides MJW, some pretty boys that the audience is supposed to relate to. Apparently the main kid, Dean Geyer (the wrestler), is a blackbelt in karate, but he’s known for being on Australian Idol and a soap opera called Neighbours. The other dude, Alex Meraz (the boxer), plays somebody named “Paul” in all but the first TWILIGHT movie. I can’t imagine anybody disagreeing with me that the two experienced MMA fighters in the cast are way more interesting than those two. I’ll take friendly giant Todd Duffee’s stiff line readings and natural likability over those slick Saved By the Bell kids any day.

The weirdest character is Justin (Scottie Epstein), the kid with dyed black “emo” hair and eyeliner who another kid calls “Kurt Cobain.” He works at a comics shop, is rejected by a girl (“Not gonna happen, dork”), gets stabbed and robbed by thugs, and comes to Case to learn how to stand up for himself. He’s not as big as Marko Zaror in KILTRO but looks similarly ridiculous in the getup, even before I knew he was a real MMA fighter who usually has minimal hair and is packing a bunch of muscle under those baggy clothes. He seems at first like a corny KARATE KID type character who learns martial arts to stop bullies and get girls, then like comic relief, then goes in directions I didn’t expect at all.

The sub-titular “Beatdown” is a fight tournament that returns from part 1, now run by Max (Evan Peters), the geek sidekick from that installment. He’s a kid who became a big shot by knowing all the different fighters and without actually fighting himself. “It’s like a rave, only instead of drugs we get stoked on mayhem,” is how he describes his event.

The Beatdown is one of the lamer underground fighting tournaments in movies, because there’s no weapons, no fighting to the death, no exotic locations, and it’s just in a beat up old gym with local (admittedly topnotch) talent. The cops don’t even try to break it up. The only thing that makes it stand out from other small MMA events is an annoying DJ/commentator (Eddie Bravo). But like in most movies, and not real life, the winner has to go through multiple opponents in one night. That actually was a cool part of the early UFCs before they had to change all the rules because Senator John McCain was campaigning to ban the sport, calling it “human cockfighting.”

I feel good that I understood most of the MMA references (Case is friends with Lyoto Machida, we hear he’s fought Bas Rutten and Kevin Randleman, etc.), but those are pretty silly and they’re meaningless to non-MMA watchers. I don’t think that would be a drawback to enjoying the movie though.

I can’t claim this is on the level of UNDISPUTED II or BLOOD AND BONE. I didn’t like the two lead kids that much, there’s lots of cheesy rock music and you gotta be patient with the melodrama of the first 15 minutes before MJW shows up to make you care. I prefer action movies in a pure world of macho danger, not a college dorm where the heroes are worried about trying to ask out girls. Despite all that I kinda loved this movie, found myself re-watching it and showing people my favorite scenes (the first time we see Case, the first time Case sees the kids). It’s the original NEVER BACK DOWN hit with an MJW 2-knuckled straight punch to the face.

If nothing else, this movie is notable for the character of Case Walker, a main character but you’re left wanting more, hoping part 3 will just be about him fighting and not being a teacher. He has many quotable lines, but his facial expressions are even more memorable.

This movie almost could’ve not happened because he almost scares away the guys that come to train with him. They think they have an in because Max sent them, but he says “Max? You tell that little wannabe Dana White next time he sends a couple bitches over to train with me he gonna have some damn problems, now get the fuck outta here.” When one of his students insults another one he doesn’t tell him to cut it out, he tells the other kid to “Punch his ass in the face.” The nicest thing he does in the movie is not break a kid’s arm when he refuses to tap. He’s gotta be one of the most credible and intimidating fight mentors in an American movie. Would’ve been a hell of a brawl if he ever came across Bone or Iceman Chambers when he was locked up.

Having a great presence like that in the movie lures you in for the primal effectiveness of the sports movie cliches. I mean I know what they’re doing to me, still I want to tune in to see if they’ll win the tournament. It helps that the formula gets tweaked a little bit. The characters that fit the bill of good guy and bad guy don’t end up hating each other, and the guy that fits the geek wish fulfillment role the most turns out to be a psycho and kind of a bully himself.

The fight choreography is by Larnell Stovall (UNDISPUTED III, MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW DIMENSION) and it’s good. It’s way more grounded in real MMA than the high flying stuff in the UNDISPUTEDs, using all kinds of grappling moves, submission holds and reversals. But it’s still exaggerated for the cameras, going quickly from move to move to put on a good show. There are a whole bunch of training montages with some impressive continuous shots where the camera weaves through multiple fighters sparring. Also MJW fights a bunch of cops while handcuffed.

NEVER BACK DOWN 2: THE BEATDOWN fulfills its responsibility to be a DTV sequel that’s way better than the theatrical original, as well as its mission to create another classic role for Michael Jai White. Next I would like to see White direct himself in an action movie where he’s not tethered to notions of appealing to a young demographic or fans of a previous movie that’s not very good. I want to see Michael Jai White in STRAIGHT-AHEAD ACTION MOVIE, a film by Michael Jai White. But this’ll do for now.

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NEVER BACK DOWN 2 comes out September 13. For fuck’s sake get it legit-style to support the production of movies like this.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 at 1:24 pm and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

76 Responses to “early review: Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown”

  1. I think MJW should play you if that biopic goes ahead.

  2. “Apparently the main kid, Dean Geyer (the wrestler), is a blackbelt in karate, but he’s known for being on Australian Idol and a soap opera called Neighbours. The other dude, Alex Meraz (the boxer), plays somebody named “Paul” in all but the first TWILIGHT movie. I can’t imagine anybody disagreeing with me that the two experienced MMA fighters in the cast are way more interesting than those two.”
    While I’ll take your word for it, I’d like to point out that Russell Crowe was in Neighbours too, so let’s not write this guy off just yet! Neighbours is actually a pretty popular show in the UK actually, so it’d be funny if for the Region 2 DVD release, the cover is redone to emphasise him more than the MMA guys.
    Also “Case Walker” would be a great name for an action movie main character who also happens to work for social services.

  3. wabalicious monkeynuts

    September 8th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Ed Exley himself, Guy Pearce, also started out in Neighbours, lots of flk who went on to be pretty big started there. The first 20 minutes of Never Back Down 2 were draining my will to live. I thought the two main guys were the same person, so it surprised me when they turned up at the weedy promoter guy’s room at the same time. I did get a chuckle out of the reason the guy’s angry at his dad, though. M J White really piles on the unnecesary nudity in this one. The fights make this worth watching, and there’s a few unexpected bits & pieces. It ended much more satisfylingly than it started, that’s for sure. It’s worth watching just for White fighting the coppers.

  4. Had this on pre-order for a minute now, curious to see the final cut since my close personal friend the director Mikey J Dubs told us at the NBD2:TBd world premiere that he still had some postproduction work to do. I hope he kept the gratuitous sex scenes, though I wouldn’t mind if that blonde stripper was upgraded.

    Like Vern, I too kinda loved this movie despite the music. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, though, because I kind of like the stupid college kid relationship stuff. Mostly because it’s funny to me, the same way that watching VALLEY GIRL or CLASS OF 1984 or CLUELESS or even the TWILIGHTs is funny. Maybe because it acts as such a perfect foil to Case Walker’s badass motherfucker act. Maybe because I like the notion of so-called pretty boys who can actually throw down. Those are the kinds of guys I like to make my friends, and we try to score chicks together.

    Larnell Stovall’s fight choreography is excellent. Vern’s right about the fights being a little too slick & compact, but surely that’s because we would compare it with actual MMA fights. No one wants to watch 3 rounds at 5 minutes each in a movie. (Perhaps WARRIOR, opening tomorrow, will prove me wrong on this.)

    The training scenes, if I recall correctly, are fucking rad, too. Watching these athletes do their thing on various pull-up bars motivates me. Makes me wish I was 20 again, not so I could much change anything, but so I could re-live my athletic growth & physical peaks like the guys in this movie.

    NBD2 didn’t seem low-budget to me at all (if we don’t count the acting abilities of the real fighters). True, I don’t remember any crane shots or expensive looking, show-offy cinematography tricks, which is the kind of stuff I usually like, but I’m very happy with the prospect of MJW as an auteur for decades to come. We should include Larnell in there, too; they’re like a team, potentially becoming the next MJ & Pippen or the next Coen brothers or the 2 X’s in Dos Equis beer, both likable guys who work hard to entertain us with their product.

    The main takeaway here is that MJW has a perfect grasp of the qualities (mean face, not talking too much, saying “motherfucker this & that motherfucker” when you do, dominating dirty cops even while handcuffed, giving physical hints of your dark background without saying anything about it outright) of a great badass character. He needs to play this character over & over again in various settings.

  5. My NetFlix star-o-meter predicted I’d rate this one 4.7 out of 5. 2 stars for my friend, 2 stars for the fights & training sequences, .4 for the nudity, .2 for the girl’s awkward ADR where she proclaims the unique hotness of MMAers, and .1 for hoping for a 3quel.

    How does NetFlix know me so well?

  6. So would you say MJW’s character in this is even cooler than his character in Blood And Bone? I’m still hoping he’ll do a sequel to that one.

  7. BLOOD AND BONE 2: BLOOD AND BONER

    Sorry. Had to be done.

  8. AU_Armageddon (Formerly The Artist Formerly Known as AU_Armageddon)

    September 9th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Heya Vern, I really enjoyed both, but the first is hands down the better watch. As watchable as this still is, it’s definately charitable to call MJW’s directing of non-fight scenes average, so I was confused for a second there until it dawned on me that the main reason for your preference comes down to your latent homophobia.

    See while the first was quite openly a cheerful Brokeback romp, unfortunately MJW’s inflated machismo has come through on this one now that he’s in the director’s chair and we got no less than 7 or 8 scenes where characters are distastefully expressing their manliness through use of the word ‘faggot’ as a derogative and similiar ugly language. It’s about every 10 minutes that MJW reminds us how just much he hates ‘faggots’. And that he’s not one, etc. etc. Far be it for me to hold the hammer of judgement on you, MJW, and this here ‘community’, but someone has to stand up for the MrMajestics of this world so I guess it will have to be me.

    On that note, the nerdophobia is pretty brutal in this one too, though at least you kind of paid it lipservice. Only kind of… Personally, I can’t think of something this harsh since Higher Learning.

    I give this review a C for Cockpunching, ta though, strikes me a little like a football team review might read.

  9. wabalicious monkeynuts

    September 9th, 2011 at 10:32 am

    He should star in and direct a film where he plays Bone, George Chambers and Case Walker, like various old Van Damme movies, only with 3 times the excitement….

  10. So there’s implied nudity in it?

    Fuck that, I’m sold. When’s this coming out in Region 2?

  11. AU, are you just trying to fuck with me or did you seriously think it was homophobic? If so you must’ve seen a really different version than the one on the promotional screener. I don’t remember the-word-that-caused-your-comment-to-need-moderation ever being used. The other characters besides MJW give the one kid homophobic taunts because his dad is gay, and he seems to hate his dad for it. Ultimately we learn that he’s mad at him not for being gay but for cheating on his mom, and then he makes up with him anyway. In fact it could be more subtle in its anti-homophobia message.

  12. He’s gotta be joking, Vern. AU calling somebody else homophobic is like Mel Gibson making a movie about a Jewish hero.

    Wait…

  13. (I apologize for that Jay Leno-style low blow. I have not forgotten that Mel got married by a rabbi at the end of LETHAL WEAPON 4.)

  14. I just watched Passion of the Christ again last night. It’s better than Hostel and about 5 of the 7 Saw films go, as far as gorno is concerned, but it does not match the par set by The Collector or some of the various French horror films of the last decade.

    I forgot how much of an open fantasy movie it was. Like, Satan keeps showing up, and then you’ve got demon kids and weird wraiths and a lot of it felt like a classier version of Harry Potter 8.

    The subtext of the film is still intensely disturbing however. The script goes out of its way again and again and again to remove blame from the Romans and cast it on the Pharisees, all of whom are cast and dressed to look like hook-nosed propaganda posters. And then there is the scene where the crowd yells out accusations at Jesus. Wow, that scene could not be less subtle in its’ broadcast of racial politics.

    Gibson moved entirely outside of the Hollywood system to make this and went to great lengths to ensure authenticity, including subtitles. However, he still goes with the old Hollywood standby on casting, all ‘evil’ Jews are darker skinned, heavier browed, more hook-nosed, while all of the Proto-Christians are more fair skinned, more attractive by Western standards, more straight nosed. This is exemplified in Simon, who helps Jesus carry his cross. His conversion is prefigured visually by his lighter skin tone.

    That said, the film is also a masterpiece of film making and an audacious work of art. Gibson is a problematic man, but his artwork stands up. If we threw out every work of art with elements of racism, sexism, homophobia, et…well then we’d have to throw out the bible too.

  15. Does anyone else associate the six letter F word these days to mean more “unmanly guy who’s completely non-threatening” than as a gay slur? Not that the two aren’t linked by the people who use them, but it does seem that stereotypical gay traits in a person(who may or not be gay) are often what they’re referring to. So really, the word needs to be reworked to be more of an insult towards sissies(or annoying Harley Davidson riders) than to homosexuals. Or as Chris Rock better put it:
    http://youtu.be/kZha8DXS-Cs

  16. The same argument could me made that the ‘n-bomb’^ just refers to a stupid person of low moral standards. Or that ‘Jew’ just means cheap.

    The antecedent remains the same. When you call someone a ^F***** the implication is that the bundle of sticks in question is somehow deficient and inferior. It is a dehumanizing phrase that has the exact same psychological centrifuge as ^’the n-bomb’ even if the cultural impact is far smaller.

    ^I hate to censor words in a real discussion, but moderation and all…

  17. And Chris Rock might have a great bit about the difference between black people and ‘n-bombs’, but if I was walking around with him and saw some loud hoodlums on the street or whatever, I hardly think he would be okay with me using ‘the n-bomb’ to refer to them. But at the same time, he would never hesitate to use ‘the F*****-bomb’.

  18. **”…masterpiece of film making and an audacious work of art.”**
    Agreed, Tawdry. I’ve been saying ^this^ about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and APOCALYPTO for years. Add in BRAVEHEART (still need to see THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE), and Mel Gibson is among the top 3 living directors, as far as I’m concerned.

    In other news, among films with barely comprehensible, stupid shakycam PG-13 fight scenes, WARRIOR is the best.

    Tommy Riordan is in the race with Ernest Hemingway for the best character of 2011 so far.

    WARRIOR might also be the best film of 2011.

  19. VERN, WATCH THIS TRAILER, EVERYBODY, WATCH IT. It’s from Gareth Evans, the director of Marantau. It looks amazing. Looks like everything you could wanna see in an action movie.

    http://www.beyondhollywood.com/you-need-to-watch-the-trailer-for-the-raid-right-now/

  20. “The same argument could me made that the ‘n-bomb’^ just refers to a stupid person of low moral standards. ”
    Not really, because the n-bomb was originated specifically as a slur towards black people. I not arguing that the use of the f***** is acceptable, but that if it BEGAN with a non-offensive meaning (bundle of sticks), and that meaning changed over time to something offensive, why can’t it’s meaning change again? If it’s constantly being used on men who aren’t necessarilly gay, but arguably unmanly/effeminate/wusses, then why isn’t the definition changing to THAT? Context is key. You’re not going to get the word “fanny” used on daytime tv over here in the UK, because over here, fanny is a swear word for vagina, not backside.

  21. *best American Oscar-bait film of 2011

    My phone ate up my sentence with some cut & paste discrepancy, didn’t mean to mislead anyone.

    The teaser for THE RAID they showed at ActionFest 2011 was even better than that trailer. It was Uwais pummeling a wall with the side of a guy’s head, then smiling & addressing the audience with his thanks for awarding MERANTAU best film at ActionFest 2010, then a slow zoom out as he says “Well, I have to get back to work, lot of guys to kill” or something as we see a slew of lifeless bodies in the hallway with him.

    It’s not like I need any more motivation to see the next Evans-Uwais joint.

  22. THE RAID does looke awesome. Gotta love the redundancy of one guy shooting another guy in the head THREE TIMES.

  23. Am I the only one who imagines Mouth typing his posts on a portable phone while jumping out of airplanes with dogs?

  24. AU_Armageddon (Formerly The Artist Formerly Known as AU_Armageddon)

    September 9th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Vern, it wants you to think it’s anti-homophobic with that one scene you reference employing the subtlety of Crash’s 101 Political Correctness playbook, but even that scene itself reveals the underlying themes of homophobia throughout this film. The only (openly) gay person is someone who abandoned their family (and implied to have cheated as well). Eve’s statement “it’s not like it means your gay, right?” is not exactly a positive affirmation of sexual equality, but they think it’s okay cos they have him play it off by saying he likes rubbing bare chested men and has slept with hundreds etc.

    I was exxagerating for effect in my post as they don’t actually use the “f” word, but they absolutely go through an urban thesaurus of insults that are exact equivocations of it, and if anything I understated the frequency of use. I also dun mean Case Walker used em all when I say MJW. Lemme think through it
    – I think Case Walker only did it once – when he calls the two faggots ‘bitches’

    – though one of the other guys calls the rest of the team ‘bitches’ as well. and someone definately said “you’re mine bitch” as well. And I remember one of em saying to the other guys at the gym look what daddys got (wtf really!?!)

    – justin did it all the way through, when he says ‘youre next bitch’ to the gangbanger (although strangely he also says he wants a kiss to gangbanger. mebbe even more strangely to me I remember he said to Case your dick would be hard?! mebbe that’s what pissed Case off so much – realising Justin was latently gay cos he was pretty clear he didn’t care about how people used what he taught them)

    – when he said to one of the main faggots to worry about the way the other main faggot looks at him

    – when justin said im fight like your daddy in a girly voice and swung his arms all sissy like he was calling his dad a faggot

    – justin also going on heard your dad likes things in the rear. and then there was that ‘dude that blows, no pun’ when eve tells them all.

    – come to think of it – the wrestlers at the start called him a faggot too and he hits one and then gets kicked off wrestling team. it wasnt the ‘word’ but same thing, like you think i should be worried and you know if that shit is genetic?

    – even at the start thats right they drew a dick on a guys face so the penis was in his mouth (as opposed to something more common and less homophobic like writing Dick on his face).

    – and one of the gangbangers at the start threatens to rape him or stick the knife in his arse or something

    – even big timmy had a go at the lads telling em he doesn’t have to fight in a cage to prove he’s a man (supposedly implying that they are bitches / sissies / faggots, although the statement itself says a lot about Tim’s own baggage eh).

    Wow – so that’s actually 17 derogatory equivocations of “faggot” from memory alone. Man must be like 25+ if you take notes. That’s insane. You might argue some of those are more derogatary towards women than homosexuality but these are linked and I think that’s enough examples to make my point. It felt to me all the way through that it had such an ugly and mean spirited underlying tone to it. Right off the bat with Justin even that chick he was nice to did not need to call him a dork in that situation, that was really unwarranted. Eve’s not a great message. An 18 year old whose slept with 17 dudes – they play it down cos mebbe thats the current generation, but I thought whats the big deal with trying to ‘get the girl’ to fuck 17 dudes by her age she is gonna be doing you by end of the month at absolute latest.

    Forgiving his dad at the end dun undo what was an entertaining, mediocrely directed, ugly homophobic mean spirited film with some awesome scenes and an awesome character (Case).

  25. Having just come back from WARRIOR, I can see the merit in Mouth’s claim that “Tommy… is in the race with Ernest Hemingway for the best character of 2011 so far.”. Fantastic fucking movie and Tom Hardy killed it (and I haven’t seen BRONSON so forgive me if it already revealed he’s big enough to play Bane. God damn).

    I still gotta give the edge to Papa. That monologue is pretty much untouchable.

    That being said, go watch WARRIOR.

  26. Good memory, AU. I don’t agree with you though. Alot of the examples you give are homophobic because homophobic characters were being homophobic. That’s not the point of view of the movie, it’s what a dude in a macho sport puts up with when his dad is gay. I think some of the other ones are stretching it too. Calling a man “bitch” is a way to emasculate him, but it doesn’t usually have a sexual preference connotation I don’t think, and definitely not in this movie.

    But still I like your sensitivity to the subject while contradictorily throwing out “faggot” a bunch of times. Good stuff.

  27. marlow: I’m drawing a blank. Who do you mean by “Papa”? Sorry, I didn’t see the Smurfs movie.

    A few months ago I said this: **I’d be interested in intellectualizing the gay dad subplot & a few other elements of NEVER BACK DOWN 2 as a comment on or deliberate defense against the likely charges of homoeroticism in a movie featuring muscular dudes grappling. I also think maybe the gay dad = NEVER BACK DOWN 1 in a meta-textual narrative sense, but we’ll see what makes it to the final cut. This non-badass approach to watching the movie is purely intended to help stimulate your mind during the more banal, teen TV show type of scenes between fights.**

    I didn’t think the hurtful dialogue was a big deal. Case Walker is a hard motherfucker, and the other guys are college boys & jocks. That’s how those types of dudes talk.

    It’s difficult for me to be sensitive to this kind of thing, or for my opinion to have much validity, because my teammates & I say awful, horrible shit all the time while we’re in the field, especially if we’re training junior guys. Homophobic slurs roll right off the tongue when you see a cherry who can’t do more than 5 pull-ups.

  28. Man, I feel like such a faggot after reading your posts, Mouth. Wait…was that homophobic?

  29. Mouth: Hemingway’s nickname was “Papa Hemingway.” Or, in Gertrude Stein’s words, “that asshole who threatened to punch me in the mouth” (her mouth, not your name).

    Interesting note about Hemingway: it is rumored that in his younger days he organized “battle royale” fights among young black men, and apparently he was also a closet cross-dresser. All of which fits in nicely with the topics raised in this comments thread. And also the PSYCHO thread, because rumor has it that it was Hemingway’s mother who turned him onto all the cross-dressing.

  30. AU_Armageddon (Formerly The Artist Formerly Known as AU_Armageddon)

    September 10th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    aight – fair enough, but I think there’s too much of it to be excused as just homophobic characters, and if you are right, then this movie is MMAist cos it’s paints them as a bunch of ignorant redneck homophobes (and nerds as psycho’s and girls as cum hankys). Michael Bay dun get a pass for his robots just cos they are racist. Mebbe even we have a new auter, this one’s stamp not quite so leftist as seagal’s though – I make that as a call, but his next movie will tell. Or mebbe you and Justin are both right and this is not about homophobia but simply gutter slang, “you can take MJW out of the ghetto, but… no wait you can’t”…

  31. This discussion is kind of ironic, considering a lot of people in the black community think MJW is gay.

  32. Wait what? MJW gay? Next you’ll accuse Vin Diesel…

    Interesting observation tho, because other than Black Dynamite – a clear parody – I don’t recall him having a love interest…

  33. I’m not accusing him of anything, nor do I care either way. I’m just telling you what I hear every time I suggest that the black-owned magazine I work for do an interview with him. It’s just rumors, of course, but he seems to have a reputation for being “kind of sweet.” Not exactly sure what that means. Maybe he wore a pink shirt once.

    I can’t get anyone to explain to me why any of this bullshit means we shouldn’t interview the baddest black man working in motion pictures today. You wanna talk about homophobia…

  34. Thanks for helping out there Jareth.

    And if MJW is gay he should come out immediately just so “It gets better” can be changed to “Pick on a kid for being gay and Michael Jai White will kill you.”

    Shit, they should do that either way…

  35. Marlow, I really needed a laugh, thank you.

  36. +1 Marlow, that was fucking awesome.

  37. MJW’s next film should be called KIND OF SWEET and feature him beating homophobes to death in hand-to-hand combat.

    It’s nice to see no-one with a brain on here could give two shits about MJW’s sexuality – or indeed anyone else’s.

  38. //Thread loop-de-loop highjack

    Holy mother-of-all-that-is-good-on-this-grean-earth THE RAID.

    Yeah, I should have gone to TIFF. Damm.

    end thread highjack//

  39. Actually, MJW sexuality is of interest to me in the sense that I outlined a senior thesis paper on Eddie Murphy latter day Murphy pictures, focusing “The Nutty Professor”, “Life”, “The Nutty Professor 2”, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”, “Norbit” and “Meet Dave”, analyzing them from the perspective that Murphy was the auteur who repeated, distinct elements of narcissism, self-loathing and homoerotic tendencies. I would have also compared and contrasted these with the children’s films he produced during this time, focusing on “Mulan”, “Dr. Doolitte”, Shrek 1-4, “Daddy Day Care” and “The Haunted Mansion”.

    Number of films in which Murphy rapes another character played by Murphy:
    Nutty Professor 2
    Norbit
    Meet Dave (the evil white man in Murphy’s head is ‘inside’ of him. His send off line, ‘Put him in my butt!’ — seriously)

    Number of films in which Murphy tries to murder another character played by Murphy:
    Nutty Professor
    Nutty Professor 2
    Pluto Nash
    Norbit
    Meet Dave (if you include the people in his head)

    Norbit ends with the darker skinned Rasputia being lynched by a mob and Norbit running off with a half-white woman.

    Meet Dave has some of the strangest race and sexual politics ever displayed in a children’s film.

    In this sense, MJW films might make an interesting comparison. Except…I don’t have any inkling that he is gay and even if he were, his films are not displaying any queer theory elements.

  40. EDIT:

    Actually, MJW’s sexuality is of interest to me in the sense that I outlined a senior thesis paper on latter day Eddie Murphy pictures, focusing on “The Nutty Professor”, “Life”, “The Nutty Professor 2″, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”, “Norbit” and “Meet Dave” and analyzing them from the perspective of Murphy as the primary auteur who included repeated and distinct elements of narcissism, self-loathing and homoeroticism. I would have also compared and contrasted these with the children’s films he produced during this time, focusing on “Mulan”, “Dr. Doolitte”, Shrek 1-4, and “Daddy Day Care” with an eye toward the racial politics of his sidekick characters.

  41. Basically, it was a paper about the depictions of race and sexuality in super-mainstream comedy. Of course, as a lily white straight boy from the San Fernando Valley, I wasn’t really the best person to look into this…So I wrote a revenge movie with a triple-digit body count instead. Got the exact same extra little stamp on my diploma for it too. Suckers.

  42. What dirty word were you trying to shoehorn into your paper that time?

  43. I never wrote it, sadly. So I never got to think of any dirty jokes to hide inside of it.

  44. Wait… Vin Diesel ISN’T gay?

  45. Of course he’s not gay. He plays Dungeons & Dragons. No self-respecting gay man plays Dungeons & Dragons.

  46. Yes – there’s nothing gay about D&D* http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&v=4Ufbr-AQPqM

    It is a pretty awesome possibility though, that two of the most masculine men in badass cinema might be gay. I can see it causing a massive crisis in certain redneck sections of the population if the Rock came out as well.

  47. meanwhile, I am exclusively attracted to women but I don’t consider myself ‘straight’ because I don’t honestly think such a thing exists. I got turned on to radical feminism while chasing skirts…

  48. I consider myself straight for the most part, I mean I’m sexually attracted to women (very much so), but at the same time I’m not a very macho person (never have been) and I’ve always been curious about what it must be like to be a woman

    not that I would ever get a sex change or anything like that, but I can’t help but be curious, maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like girls have a lot more fun together than guys

  49. I think I’m just very in touch with my feminine side

  50. If I had a feminine side I’d touch it all the time.

  51. Griff: The last sentence in your first post above makes me wonder if you’ve never seen the volleyball scene in TOP GUN.

  52. unfortunately I have not seen the entirety of the volleyball scene in Top Gun as a matter of fact

    anyway, this is a little strange I admit, but one reason why I’m curious about what it must be like to be a woman is it seems like they have much more intense orgasms than men, what does a female orgasm feel like? I can’t help but wonder

  53. Griff – all of my exes have said exactly the same thing.

  54. Henry Miller wondered the same thing. He said the best he could think of was being poked with a stick. Miller is what most feminists these days would call “lacking in imagination.”

    But seriously, if you look at the incredibly complex network of muscles that are effected during the female orgasm, it’s kind of a biological wonder, especially compared to the comparatively simple biological response in males. But I guess what guys lose in complexity they make up for in relative ease of use. There’s a reason sex manuals only began to proliferate at the same time the world became more mindful of sexual satisfaction in women. Getting a guy off is about as complicated as using a Slinky.

    That works as a great line when you’re courting a girl: Yeah, baby, you got a real complex network of muscles down there.

  55. “Interesting observation tho, because other than Black Dynamite – a clear parody – I don’t recall him having a love interest…”
    Are you insinuating that Mike Tyson is gay?

  56. Stu – I’ll let you ask him.

    Speaking of gay hardasses – the more I watch them, the more I agree with Vern that the Transporter would be right at home playing shirtless volleyball with Maverick and Iceman.

  57. Oh The Tranporter is totally gay. Didn’t Besson say this in interviews years ago?

  58. No Tawdry, it is not gay it is European. Don’t feel bad, I often confuse the two as well.

  59. Well, now that we’re done analyzing the sexuality of men we’ve never met, who want’s to talk about batman?

  60. Creates a dual identity where the false side goes out of the way to be seen with ladies.

    Never enters into a healthy relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

    Violent S&M based nightlife.

    If Batman isn’t just one huge metaphor for being a closeted gay man I don’t know what is…

    (and that’s without bringing Robin to the table simply because it reenforces that stupid notion that gay = pedo)

  61. Again, Twinks are very popular in queer culture.

    But can we drop the gay stuff and go back to discussing explosions? Cuz I already took like 14 feminist theory classes and don’t feel like looking up any Judith Butler quotes today.

    Has anyone seen SHOTGUN (1989)? It’s pretty excellent.

  62. No. But it gets queued up on title alone.

  63. AU_Armageddon (Formerly The Artist Formerly Known as AU_Armageddon)

    September 11th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Man there’s nothing left for me to say…

  64. Vern, will you be reviewing Warrior? I saw that movie at a screening and it’s well worth your time. It’s easily the best movie involving fighting that I’ve seen in years. It’s on the level of Rocky in terms of the emotion and excitement of the final fights. Just a great movie that nobody is seeing due to terrible trailers that make it looks like any other fight movie. This is the movie Never Back Down wishes it were.

  65. Hey Tawdry, I watched SHOTGUN on your recommendation. Fucking hilarious. Officer Frank Shotgun was probably the least convincing central badass I’ve ever seen. With his ginger ponytail and Navajo cardigan, he looked more like the type of guy who plays bass and raises alpacas than the type of guy who gets kicked off the force for Rodney Kinging an IA investigator. He definitely doesn’t deserve his own theme song with the chorus “Shot! Gun! Shotgun! Jones! It’s deadly, deadly justice!” But what are you gonna do? That’s the fucking SYSTEM, man.

  66. Oooh sounds like it might be worth watching. I’ll check it out when I have some time.

  67. If you can’t handle the late-eighties-soap-opera level photography and production values (it’s the kind of movie where the cop finds a vital clue because IT’S THE ONLY PROP IN THE ROOM), skip to the end. You won’t be sorry. There’s a battletruck.

  68. Speaking of battle trucks, have any of you guys seen the film BATTLE TRUCK AKA Warlords WARLORDS OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY? It is a pretty solid little post apocalypse movie released by New World Pictures back in the day. It is a good low budget action film, and does not have any of the schlocky or cheesy qualities often associated with most NW Picture releases. It stars Michael Beck from the WARRIORS & features a good supporting cast including the man that would become “Cliff” John Ratzenberger. It recently got a “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” release on DVD as a double bill with DEATH SPORT (an unofficial squeal to DEATH RACE 2000 that is the type of bad movie many people think of when they think of NW Pictures). The battle truck of the title is not great itself, but the film really is an enjoyable modern western.

  69. Another Tyler Perry thing, Mikey? A fucking sitcom? This is not the badass follow-up to NBD: TBd I had hoped for. Hopefully TBS cancels this shit soon.

    It drains my soul to see Case Walker trying to ice skate uphill by going for G-rated laffs.

  70. Never Back Down > Never Back Down 2.

    Then again I really only watched them because I’m on an Evan Peters kick ever since American Horror Story, so maybe my opinion doesn’t count, but I actually got into the first NBD movie. NBD2 had too many shitty actors and kind of ripped off the first one with the whole I-get-pissed-off-when-people-make-snide-remarks-about-my-dad thing. Tyler’s dad was dead and in this movie the kid’s dad is gay, but still, pretty much the same idea. Kind of made the movie, if you’ve seen the first one, feel repetitive.

  71. I just saw it and file it under “light and not bad, but also not memorable entertainment”. There are many small things that came together in a nice way. In every other movie, the villain would have been the arrogant ex-boyfriend of the main girl, but while he acted like a scumbag towards her, the love triangle ended in the best possible way for everybody. That was cool in my opinion.

    Also the path of the whiny emo kid was pretty surprising. (But I wonder if the police ever found out that he murdered or at least heavily injured that one guy. And why he was so obessed with beating people with iron bars, clubs and shit like that.)

    But there was one thing that I seriously didn’t expect to see: During the sex scene, the guy seriously reaches between his legs and adjusts his dick, before inserting it in her! I can’t remember ever seeing this before in a movie! Usually in those simulated sex scenes, that we see in non pornographic movies, the dicks seem to be in the right angle from the beginning. No adjustment needed. Just lay on top of her and let it slide in. But not when Mr Michael Jai White is sitting on the director’s chair!

  72. NEVER BACK DOWN 2: THE BEATDOWN: the most accurate representation of offscreen vaginal penetration in the history of the Films of Cinema.

    I know if I were in the motion picture biz, I’d refuse to do sex scenes unless I could get in some method work preparation with my scene partner[s], refining the rhythm & angle. That way, it’s believable when she & I cum simultaneously onscreen, as all loving movie couples do.

  73. Forget the angling maneuver, most movie humpers wear magical disappearing underpants that disintegrate at the moment of insertion and then reappear the next day, right about the time the morning ninja attack takes place.

  74. or in the case of Tommy Wiseau he evidently fucks Lisa’s belly button

  75. I bought this movie at a closing Blockbuster store back in February and I remember skimming through scenes one day and I thought that it seemed okay. However, sometime later, I skimmed through it again and the one scene that really threw me off was the strip club sex scene. I was thrown off by it that it took two months for me to finally just sit down and watch it in its entirety. The movie was still cheesy, but I liked it better than I thought I was going to (I put off watching it intentionally). I still cringe at the strip club sex scene but at least I can see where the blonde stripper came from as she was seen earlier on saying hello in a rather flirtatious way towards one of the main characters.

    However, I didn’t like how they made the dorky one into the villain more than halfway through the movie. Also, I really wish that there was another scene with the dorky-yet-so-hot girl from the comic book store earlier on and maybe he would have done something to her to make him seem more like the villain or maybe have her become attracted to him or something after seeing him what he had become.

    I have listened to some of the commentary on the DVD. It’s actually pretty good, so I am still kind of on the fence as to whether I should keep it or sell it. I did say that I enjoyed it better than I thought I was and I have also seen the first one and I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship or maybe it’s a relationship in that I enjoy it despite the corniness of it.

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