The By no means Again Down franchise has grown right into a beloved martial arts film sequence, however how do the films rank? With the recognition of MMA, the By no means Again Down franchise first kicked off in 2008, however whereas the unique has its virtues, notably in Djimon Hounsou’s MMA mentor efficiency, it did not actually set the cinema screens on fireplace on the time. Since then, the By no means Again Down sequence has adopted an identical path because the Undisputed franchise in actually breaking out with its straight-to-video sequel By no means Again Down 2: The Beatdown underneath the route of Michael Jai White.
Although Chris Hauty has returned as screenwriter for every installment of the sequence, the By no means Again Down motion pictures have been one thing of a loosely tied-together martial arts anthology, with a handful of components and characters persevering with from one film to the subsequent as every tells its personal story. The fourth movie within the sequence By no means Again Down: Revolt, particularly, takes the sequence in a pointy new route with filmmaker Kellie Madison directing because the sequence transitions to new territory.
True to its title, the By no means Again Down franchise is an energized MMA sequence that is at all times prepared for the subsequent Beatdown, as its grand competitors of fighters is dubbed. Grabbing some real-life MMA fighters for cameos and supporting roles alongside the best way, the franchise is aware of what its viewers is hungry for, and has solely gotten higher and higher at delivering it to them. Revolt additionally units up the martial arts film franchise to proceed down a brand new highway in By no means Again Down 5, with the sequence having the liberty now to leap into extra life-and-death tales with its MMA basis at all times at its core. Here is how the By no means Again Down sequence ranks, from worst to finest.
4. By no means Again Down
The primary chapter of the sequence, 2008’s By no means Again Down, focuses on Jake Tyler (Sean Faris), a hot-tempered child who discovers an area MMA fitness center run by Jean Roqua, performed by Djimon Hounsou, and finds an outlet to harness his anger points. By no means Again Down is arguably extra fulfilling for its coaching montages over its martial arts struggle scenes, the latter usually resembling MTV music movies shot on cell telephones, whereas the coaching aspect of the movie exhibits Jake’s development and the gradual management he positive factors over his anger. The very best montage set to Purple Soar Swimsuit Equipment’ “False Pretense.” If one is sufficiently old, By no means Again Down is frankly just a little chilling in components, with the children relishing the possibility to humiliate one another with their cellphone cameras. Evan Peters balances a few of that out as Jake’s pal Max Cooperman, an MMA fanatic who introduces Jake to Roqua’s fitness center and brings alongside among the appeal of his portrayal of Quicksilver.
Djimon Hounsou is definitely the spotlight of the entire film because the sage-like Roqua, emphatically insisting that his college students not struggle exterior of the fitness center, offering Jake simply the steerage that the younger unfastened canon wants, and embodying a real instance of a consummate blended martial artist, heaving cinder blocks and kicking heavy baggage a number of toes with ease. A few of his knowledge within the fitness center is prominently glimpsed at occasions within the motion scenes, reminiscent of a three-punch roundhouse-kick mixture he takes Jake by means of early within the movie, and the emphasis he locations on controlling one’s respiration. Nevertheless, the decently orchestrated struggle scenes are nonetheless extra uncooked and uneven than mandatory. By no means Again Down is not the best MMA film on the market, nevertheless it has its moments, and Hounsou’s mentor efficiency makes it value a glance.
3. By no means Again Down: Revolt
With By no means Again Down: Revolt, the By no means Again Down franchise follows the trajectory of the Better of the Greatest sequence, getting into darker and deadlier territory with its fourth chapter. After aspiring MMA fighter Aslan (Tommy Bastow) refuses to throw a struggle, he places himself and his sister Anya (Olivia Popica) in scorching water and deep debt. Anya’s personal combating talent impresses struggle promoter Mariah (Brooke Johnston), and earns her a spot in a match in Rome with the promise of wiping the debt clear. Sadly, Anya discovers on her arrival that it’s truly an underground competitors the place younger ladies are kidnapped and compelled to struggle for betting millionaires. As probably the most standalone entry within the By no means Again Down sequence, Revolt does a very good job of setting the stakes excessive because it ventures right into a story akin to the Bloodsport underground match franchise, particularly on its low funds and the pandemic era-challenges director Kellie Madison needed to coordinate the movie by means of. Revolt feels directly the identical and completely different from its three predecessors. Whereas missing the rock music-filled coaching montages and paced with fewer motion scenes for its first two-thirds, Revolt additionally has a becoming sinister really feel in its descent into the darkish underbelly of the underground combating world.
Former UFC champ Michael Bisping is the villainous spotlight of Revolt, bringing monstrous sadism to each scene, and with Johnston’s extra sly sinister overseer of the match, each are antagonists whose comeuppance is eagerly anticipated by audiences. The MMA fights in Revolt, orchestrated by Tim Man and John Wick franchise alum Cecep Arif Rahman (who appeared reverse Amy Johnston in Madison’s proof-of-concept quick The Gate), are fittingly harsh, although a few of forged members being rookies is obvious at factors. Nonetheless, Madison is aware of tips on how to construct to a quick and highly effective third act because the imprisoned fighters plot their revolt in opposition to their captors. By no means Again Down: Revolt is just a little bit smaller of a narrative than its title would possibly recommend, nevertheless it’s an entertaining underground struggle flick that units up the franchise to proceed in a brand new route. Martial arts followers also needs to be careful for stuntwoman Chloe Bruce, who snags the film’s finest one-on-one struggle with Phoebe Robinson-Galvin.
2. By no means Again Down 2: The Beatdown
Within the ’90s, “straight-to-video sequel” would possibly’ve been a time period synonymous with “kiss of demise.” By 2011 nevertheless, a minimum of in the case of motion motion pictures, such a transition had begun to look extra like an improve, and By no means Again Down 2: The Beatdown, the directorial debut of martial arts film veteran Michael Jai White, is definitely a shining instance of that. The Beatdown focuses on 4 younger males, respectively portrayed by Dean Geyer, Alexa Meraz, and real-life MMA fighters Todd Duffee and Scott Epstein (their fellow MMA fighter Lyoto Machida additionally drops in for a cameo), coaching underneath the tutelage of former MMA champ Case Walker, performed by White, who additionally made his directorial debut with the movie. The returning Evan Peters units up connective tissue with the primary film because the at all times energetic Max, whereas the movie absolutely invests the viewer within the every of the 4 important college students’ tales. Case’s personal historical past can also be a central pillar to the movie as each a one-time rising star within the MMA world and a former prisoner making an attempt to comply with the foundations of his parole. Whereas particulars of his previous are stored extra within the background, the movie makes clear that his important aim is solely to begin his life over, his efforts usually exploited by some racist cops.
In each its coaching and struggle sequences, The Beatdown absolutely surpasses its predecessor. Case particularly constructs every pupil’s coaching round their weak factors, and his instruction to Dean Geyer’s Mike Stokes to punch a sheet of paper till he can puncture it along with his knuckles is an ongoing problem that the movie pays off marvelously on the finish. The motion scenes, orchestrated by Larnell Stovall, are additionally excellent, particularly when the Beatdown lastly arrives and the data every of Case’s college students has gained comes into play. Although primarily a mentor, Case does not sit on the sidelines both, seen in a set-piece proper out of a Jackie Chan film with Case combating off the aforementioned dangerous cops with each arms cuffed after being framed for a parole violation. Not not like White’s earlier involvement in Undisputed 2: Final Man Standing, By no means Again Down 2: The Beatdown is the purpose the place the MMA-centric franchise actually took off, additionally establishing a brand new coaching montage traditional with For The Taking’s “Time Is Operating Out” alongside the best way in its stand-out pre-Beatdown montage.
1. By no means Again Down: No Give up
Following The Beatdown, Case Walker has made a full return to the MMA world in By no means Again Down: No Give up. The third movie within the franchise sees Case agrees to journey to Thailand to assist his previous pal Brody James, performed by real-life MMA fighter Josh Barnett, prepare for an upcoming struggle in opposition to the cruel Ceasar Braga, performed by Nathan Jones, well-known as Rictus Erectus, the son of Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Highway. Like a devoted pupil rising by means of the ranks of martial arts, the By no means Again Down sequence reaches its stride with No Give up. White as soon as once more directs, and the highlight is way more centered on Case this time, however he nonetheless features as a mentor in his personal story, and never only for the wayward Brody in his initially lax perspective in direction of the struggle with Braga. Case additionally persistently passes his knowledge on to his fellow fighters, together with some he faces within the ring, taking them apart after matches to provides them pointers, whereas different fighters within the Bangkok fitness center swiftly come to acknowledge his Mr. Miyagi-level martial arts knowledge. Although Case’s previous, together with his time in jail, is generally nonetheless stored within the background, No Give up additionally pulls again the curtain only a bit on it in his scenes with the struggle promotion’s PR director Myca Cruz, performed by White’s real-life spouse Gillian White. Case additionally nonetheless hasn’t misplaced his pure no-nonsense mindset, seen when he swiftly admonishes a pair of youthful fighters applauding his punching method to “cease that s–t!“
No Give up goes into even higher depth in each its motion and coaching scenes, merging each in among the finest motion scenes of the entire sequence when Case faces a cocky opponent within the cage, with flashes of Karate “bunkai,” adopted by Case implementing every method for actual. Being filmed and set in Thailand, the nation’s nationwide legend Tony Jaa cameos in No Give up as himself, whereas the movie additionally pulls in each Chocolate‘s Jeeja Yanin as feminine fitness center fighter, with Stephen “The Struggle Professor” Quadros additionally showing as one of many fitness center’s trainers, Matty Ramos. The behind-the-scenes machinations for Brody’s struggle with Braga ultimately pulls in Case when his previous is dug into, however being the mental fighter that he’s, Case exhibits that two can play at that recreation, with the film’s glorious last showdown between Case and Braga preceded by what could be one of the crucial penetrating and satisfying one-liner/insult combos in a long time. With incredible motion and coaching scenes, Michael Jai White’s on-screen strengths that he brings to each the director’s chair and the function of Case Walker, and the sharpest writing of the franchise to this point, By no means Again Down: No Give up is each the head of the By no means Again Down sequence and the embodiment of its subtitle. With the franchise now having launched greater stakes than ever with By no means Again Down: Revolt, one can solely marvel the way it will proceed to construct upon that. Nonetheless, the By no means Again Down sequence will certainly stay fashionable with martial arts film followers, and By no means Again Down: Give up carries the crown of its finest installment.
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