Director: Gavin O' Connor
Time: 2 hours 19 minutes
Genre: Drama, Action
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte
Let me first preface by saying that mixed martial arts (MMA) is not for everyone. While I personally believe that MMA will soon grow to become the biggest sport in the world, I do realize that some people may not like the action -- regardless of what your view is on the sport, "Warrior" will undoubtedly lift up your heart and raise your spirits.
Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton) are two brothers who live seemingly different lives -- Tommy is a former marine with ghosts from his past, looking for answers to questions only he knows. His brother Brendan on the other hand, is a high school physics teacher with a wife, 2 kids and an insurmountable debt. Both don't think too highly of their father Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte), an abusive former drunk, who is almost 2 and half years sober.
The obstacles in each of their lives leads both brothers to pursue Sparta, a 16-man single elimination, winner-take-all tournament scheduled over the course of 2 days. The winner will take home $5 million in earnings -- everyone else goes home empty handed. Can Tommy, under the tutelage of his father, make it to the final or will he come up short? Will Brendan be able to rekindle his past glories as a professional fighter or will his age be his downfall?
"Warrior" is the first film to really give a sense of the human factor involved with people in MMA. Too often mma fighters are confused with bloodthirsty barbarians and degenerates. Gavin O' Connor's film aims to prove otherwise. We become sympathetic to the plight of a man struggling to keep his family afloat amidst the economic turmoil of the U.S. -- a very plausible situation, and one that many of us can relate to. We become sympathetic to a war veteran, who returns home and struggles to relate with the people around him -- how many of us know someone like that or can appreciate the difficulty that these vets have to struggle with? We become sympathetic to an aging father, who has made his share of mistakes in his life, yearning for the approval of his two sons, who he treated poorly in the past -- "Warrior" is deep and very moving.
Amidst all this drama is a fair amount of exciting MMA action to keep your heart pumping. While some of the occurrences are a little grand in scale, the film still tries to stay true to the foundations of the sport. In fact, I hope that the film helps generate a greater interest into MMA in the future!
The plot is excellent and for a movie that was nearly 150 minutes in length, it never dragged -- that is pretty impressive. What I especially liked about the film was that it realistically tries to resolve its issues. By movie end, while many things may not have a happy ending, the characters have reached a satisfactory limbo or plausible advancement in their lives where they can continue to develop. While the characters may not have closure, we as viewers definitely appreciate it and aren't disappointed with the ending.
If you like films like "Rocky" or "Miracle", you will probably love "Warrior". Catch it today at the Tango Theatres.
5 out of 5 stars.