Friday, March 14, 2008

MMA Limps Into Theatres, Drops Massive Turd

There may be nothing I enjoy more than reading well-written reviews of brutally awful movies (except perhaps such reviews of brutally awful books, which can be dissected at greater length and detail.) They give movie reviewers the opportunity to exorcise all their pent-up enmity by spending hours concocting perfectly vicious prose-dagger, often leading to hilariously snide and relentlessly entertaining reviews.

The fact that such reviews are currently being directed at a film based around my preferred sport makes me a little apprehensive, but the reviews of Never Back Down contain so much extravagant negativity, I can't help but be amused.

In that vein, here are some of the choiceest quotes from reviews of Never Back Down (thanks to Fight Opinion for compiling the links):
  • I suspect that sometime in the near future the scenario in the adage "Give a monkey a typewriter and. ..." will actually happen. Studio executives tired of dealing with the diva whims of writers and directors will find a group of trained chimps and force them to crank out a film. I also suspect the resulting film will show more imagination than the 110-minute waste of your life that is "Never Back Down." (News & Observer)
  • If “Mystery Science Theater 3000” ever makes a comeback, I’ve got its first movie. A soulless blend of bad action, bad acting and worse writing, “Never Back Down” is tolerable only if merciless wisecrackers are offering commentary. (Kansas City Star-1 Star)
  • It's certainly not as much fun as The Karate Kid, so seriously does it take itself amid its coleslaw of half-hearted life lessons, and ludicrous fighting-is-not-the-answer message (in a movie that breaks more ribs than a cardiac surgeon in a career). (Winnipeg Sun. How friggin' perfect is "coleslaw" in that sentence?)
  • The very height of teen-oriented idiocy, this wrong-headed ode to violence is aimed at two particular niches: vapid girls who want to watch sweaty, shirtless young men fight each other; and meathead guys who believe macho douchebaggery is the answer to all life's problems (and who also, incidentally, want to watch sweaty, shirtless young men fight each other). (
On a happier note, the LA Times published a very good, in depth look at the entire crop of new MMA-based movies, some of which actually sound worthwhile, among them two indie documentaries. Most interesting to me was this quote from Hong Kong action star and director Donnie Yen, who says MMA is changing the way fight scenes are choreographed. From the article:
"I think MMA is here to stay," Yen said by phone from Shanghai. "For me as an action director, it's where action filmmaking is going. Now people will laugh at you if you do all that fancy jumping in the air. It wouldn't work in a real situation. I think you're going to have MMA in contemporary action films from now on."
No more flying scissor kicks on sped up film? That would be tragic, but an array of flying armbars, triangles, and spinning backfists should be an adequate replacement.

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