In Theatres: 
Sep 09, 2011
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 19 Minutes

Mixed martial arts has become increasingly popular of the years with live events, movies and even video games portraying its brutal fighting nature. Warrior is the latest film to tackle the sport, and it does so in a way that doesn’t solely focus on two guys bashing each other’s brains out.

As a child, Tom (Tom Hardy) was at the top of his league in high school wrestling. His brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) was also good at the sport but always ended up in the shadow of Tom. Everything changed though when their parents divorced. Tom ended up with their mom and eventually joined the Marines while Brendan stayed with their father Paddy (Nick Nolte); looking for that acceptance he’s always wanted.

Fast forward to the present day and things are quite different now. Tom is now back in his hometown; a drunk looking to earn some money. Brendan has given up his fighting lifestyle to settle down and raise a family teaching as a physics professor. Paddy has changed as well. A former alcoholic, he has given up drinking and turned towards God for forgiveness. When word spreads about a winner-take-all MMA tournament coming up with $5 million on the line, both brothers and their father are reunited by a common goal; to win.

The array of characters in Warrior and their motives is what make the film so intricate and complex. There’s Tom, a hardened war hero who has tragically fallen from grace. He’s the type of guy who uses his fists to talk rather than his mouth. He’s an absolute beast who’s solely focused on knocking the other guy out. Tom Hardy plays the role amazingly. He’s brutal. He’s fierce. He’s everything you would expect from an MMA warrior. At the same time, you can tell that there’s something bothering him outside the ring. There’s much more to his character than muscles and tattoos.

Brendan on the other hand is the gentler one. He’s not fighting in the tournament just to fight. Like many other people in this economy, he has fallen on hard times and risks losing his house. Seeing as a teacher’s salary isn’t going to get him the money he needs, he has returned to the ring to fight for his family. Joel Edgerton plays the kind of person who doesn’t like to fight but can throw a damn good punch when he has to. He puts his wife and daughter first and won’t let anything or anyone get in his way.

Then there’s Paddy. He’s just about as crazy as Nick Nolte is in real life. A former alcoholic, he made plenty of mistakes in his past but is now trying to set things right. Both his sons hate him for what he’s put them through and rightfully so. While you root for Tom and Brendan, Paddy’s the guy you feel sorry for.

Warrior manages to keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire 140 minutes of the film. It convinces you to cheer for both Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton in a sport where you know only one man with reign victorious. Not only that but it keeps you guessing until the very last punch. Warrior manages to be just as intense as the sport it portrays. Putting an expertly crafted story with well developed characters behind it is just the knockout punch it needs at the box office. 

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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