Director: Gavin O'Connor
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte
Tommy (Hardy) is back home after serving a term as a Marine. He comes from a troubled past. His father, Paddy (Nolte), was an alcoholic. He has a severed relationship with his brother, Brendan (Edgerton). He comes home to find that his father is no longer a drunk and is on the clean and sober path much to his disbelief. Brendan is a former fighter who is making a living as a high school physics teacher. Tommy enlists the help of his father to train for Sparta, a high-stakes Mixed Martial Arts tournament. The prize is five million dollars to the winner. Due to the pressures of mortgage payments and raising a family, Brendan also signs up and returns to his roots in hopes of winning the money to provide for his family. Brendan is a strong competitor and is the front-runner for the tournament. As Tommy starts to gain momentum, he quickly becomes the underdog to potentially win it all. Each of them start winning their battles getting closer and closer to the idea that they might have to face off against each other.
Don't be fooled. Warrior is not The Fighter with two different actors as the brothers. I feel like the marketing for the movie does not do it justice. Whenever I talk to anyone about Warrior, people say they are sick of boxing movies or that it's a knock-off of The Fighter. The movie doesn't really bear any resemblance to the former except the fact that it is about two brothers. There is a different sport and theme to this one. Some people don't realize that the focus isn't just about mixed martial arts.
I was pleasantly surprised how much I really enjoyed this movie. It was not the movie I thought it was going to be, which could be why I enjoyed it so much. Mixed martial arts is a sport that I really am not familiar with. You find yourself rooting for both Tommy and Brendan. They both have convincing stories, so you want them both to receive the money. The thought of them having to duke it out and practically kill each other for the money is cringe worthy to watch at times. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton give very strong convincing performances. The more I've gotten to see Tom Hardy's work, the bigger fan I become. Joel Edgerton completely knocked me out as well. I've seen some of his other work, but he really shines in this. It's great to see Nick Nolte back on screen again. I feel like we haven't seen him in a great role in quite some time. The cinematography really stood out to me with the massive amounts of close-up tight shots. You really feel as if you're either in the octagon or right outside the fence. The fight itself is over half of the movie. It's eighty minutes of edge-of-your-seat combat. This movie really needs to find a bigger audience. It's one of those movies where you might not originally feel the need to see, but you definitely won't regret it afterwards. It has become one of my favorite movies I've seen all year.
Rating: **** 1/2 (4.5 out of 5 stars)