If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Director: Gavin O' Connor
Writers: Gavin O' Connor, Cliff Dorfman, and Anthony Tambakis
Stars: Tom Hardy (Inception, Bronson), Joel Edgerton (The Thing), and Nick Nolte (Affliction)
"Warrior" is the story of two brothers and their father, who's an ex-boxer and recovering alcoholic. When I say that, it sounds like a type of film we've all seen before; except this time, it actually works. Brendan Conlon, who is played by Joel Edgerton, is a former-MMA fighter who has left his alcoholic father and brother behind to start a new life. Brendan is now "living the american dream"; he has started a family and works as a high-school physics teacher. Things appear to be going great for Brendan and his wife (Jennifer Morrison); however, due to financial problems, Brendan and his family are about to lose their house. To make some extra cash, Brendan goes to apply for a job as a bouncer at a local "titty bar". Instead, he ends up participating in a small MMA event. Brendan wins but ironically things get worse. A video of Brendan's fight is uploaded to You-Tube; as a result, The school-board sees the video and Brendan gets laid-off from work. With no other option, Brendan trains and enters the big MMA tournament, "Sparta", to win the big prize money.
Meanwhile, Tommy Ridoran (Tom Hardy), Brendan's younger brother, returns home after several years to his now sober father, Paddy (Nick Nolte). Paddy, who is now a thousand days sober, just wants to get to know his son and repair their broken relationship. Unfortunately for Paddy, you find out that Tommy wants hardly anything to do with his father. Tommy only wants one thing; he wants his old man to train him for the "Sparta" tournament.
From That point on you can guess what the climax is.
"Warrior" has a simple, yet heart-throbbing story that could make the manliest man cry. Most of these "heart-throbbing" moments are with Nick Nolte's character, Paddy. (with a first name like Paddy, you feel even more sorry for him.) Paddy tries so hard to repair his relationships with both of his sons, Tom and Brendan, and nothing ever seems to go his way. "Warrior" teaches us that it's essential to forgive friends, and most importantly, family for wrong doings. At the same time though, "Warrior" also teaches us to never forget.
Alright, so now your wondering how the Mixed Martial Arts are represented. One word: BAD-ASS. Do keep in mind though, this is coming from a guy that's never actually watched MMA before. With that said, it's pretty awesome. Tom Hardy's character, Tommy, ("Who's too small to play Bane in TDKR") is a F-ing monster. Tommy's first punch is always that last punch that gets thrown. Tommy immediately knocks out every opponent he encounters with only one hit. Tommy comes in, throws a punch, and walks out even before the ref can clarify that his opponent has been knocked out.
Don't think for one minute though that Tommy's older brother, Brendan, is a weakling. Brendan (Joel Edgerton) might not knock out guys within one hit, but he can sure fight. He's the underdog of the story, and the guy that's probably the most relatable. I'm not spoiling anything when I say this, (They reveal it in the trailer and TV-spot) but when the two brothers collide in the climax, you're not sure who to root for. That's the great thing about "Warrior"; you genuinely like these characters.
Edgerton, Hardy, and especially Nolte give great performances. Edgerton plays the underdog role so well, and Hardy plays the tough broken spirit like a violin. Nolte; however, steals the violin and plays it on steroids. I really believe that Nick Nolte deserves an Oscar nomination for "Best Supporting Actor". It probably won't happen, but at least it won't be the first time that The Academy has snubbed someone. We all remember last year's big snub, don't we.
There are some problems with "Warrior"; fortunately though, they're very minor. The first problem I have with "Warrior" are the commentators at the MMA tournaments. Much like any sport that you watch, they never fail to be over obnoxious and just plain annoying. The commentators pull out some of the most inane dialogue that do not serve the least bit of significance. The second problem (much like the first) I have with "Warrior" is some of the dialogue. The good news is that 90 percent of the bad dialogue lies on the shoulders of the two idiotic commentators.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and I advise everyone and anyone to see it. Like I said earlier, this movie can make the manliest man cry. In fact, this movie caters towards those kinds of people. "Warrior" is that "tough guy" movie with a huge heart at it's core.
I give "Warrior" a 4 out of 5.