Excerpt: Tommy Reardon and Brendan Conlon (Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton) are two fighters on their way to a high-profile MMA Tournament in Atlantic City coming from very different backgrounds, except they have one very important thing in common... their recovering alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). Separated years earlier, this family is reunited in a tense stand-off as they try to make arrears for years of anger and regrets within a world that's all about fighting.
Excerpt: I’m not what you’d call a man’s man. I don’t know a thing about cars. About the closest thing I have to a power tool is a reversible flathead screwdriver. I couldn’t care less how silly I look stopping for directions if I’m lost and need help finding the interstate (or at least I didn’t have a problem with it before I had my handy dandy iPhone in my back pocket). I cry regularly and consider it a needed and cathartic experience.
Excerpt: Gavin O’Connor knows how this works. After all, he directed 2004’s sports opus Miracle . With success and praise, O’Connor switches sports to MMA, and brings with it all of the formula. Warrior is a hard movie to hate though. It’s brawling up and down for three rounds to come together, working the entire time.
Conclusion: 'Warrior' isn't the greatest sports film of all time, but it's leaps and bounds above the average ones that are generally pumped out year after year. What keeps it from being "just another fighting movie" is the intimacy you get with each of the main characters. This is a movie about real people, not just fighters. You care for them so much that you don't care who wins, you just want their issues resolved because they're both good people with noble causes for fighting.
Excerpt: For quite a while at the beginning of Warrior it seems this could be a kind of sports movie that does something bigger with the genre, more like David O. Russell's The Fighter than Gavin O'Connor's own Miracle . The kinetic handheld camerawork, the frequent lack of score, and especially the committed performances from the three leads place Warrior well above the usual sports tales of redemption and self-discovery, and as the story draws closer to the Big Match it's...
Excerpt: The naturalistic camerawork, gritty urban environments, or brutal setting of mixed-martial-arts fighting may mislead viewers away from the truth: Gavin O’Connor’s Warrior is a man-weepie of the highest Hollywood order, a would-be Rocky for an empire in decline. It’s irresistible, but how could people resist when Warrior comes packing double-barreled underdog arcs in the form of brothers played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton?