Warrior: The Review

The Basics

Tommy Conlon, or Tommy Riordan as he is known in present day, returns home to face the demons of his past by training with his formerly abusive alcoholic father for a shot at a five million dollar winner-take-all prize in what is said will be the “Superbowl” of Mixed Martial Arts competitions.  However, there is a catch.  His estranged big brother, Brendan, is about to lose his house and is taking one last shot to enter the competition before foreclosure.  Who will win this Caine and Abel type grudge match?  Will this help or hurt their chances for reconciliation?

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dunn

Written by: Cliff Dorfman and Gavin O`Connor (story & screenplay), Anthony Tambakis (screenplay)

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

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The Good

The element of Warrior that made it so emotionally provoking is that you could see it happening in real life.  Who hasn’t been through or heard of a case of a couple carrying three jobs and still not being able to get ahead on the mortgage?  Let’s not forget about the many broken homes torn apart by the family alcoholic.  It was not just about frat boys trying to prove themselves to be men when they so obviously are at the other end of that spectrum.  This is a sports action film that audiences can identify with.  One has to give massive kudos to the screenplay writers.

Writers shape the fictional world of a film, but that would not go far without actors to immerse themselves in the role and bring that universe to life.  I would just like to take this opportunity to say, “Welcome back, Nick Nolte”.  After some time away from the spotlight, he seems to be back in action and came bursting onto the screen larger than life as the sad, reformed drunk of a father.  There were moments of empathizing with the sons over their childhood, and feeling sorry for the father trying so hard to have a relationship with his offspring now when he is continually informed that he’s too late.

Tom Hardy was the other standout performance as Tommy, the vet returned home with post traumatic stress and demons from his past in need of a good beat down.  I am still reeling, and quite astounded, by Kurt Angle’s appearance as the Russian machine adversary to beat.  That is meant in a good way, because he did quite well!

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The Bad

There is nothing too harsh to say about Warrior, except that it left you wanting more!  More is a general term, but it fits.  During the competition, Sparta, some of the fights seemed cut short and should have lasted a little longer.  Perhaps the reason was to make Tommy seem the force to be reckoned with, but some of the fights were only seconds long.

The other instance that could have been drawn out (though it was not necessary) was the ending.  It left me wanting to know just a bit more of what happened after the fight, though I have drawn my own conclusions.  Perhaps it is lacking in some originality in the storyline department, but not enough to take away from the viewing experience.

The Scorecard

Acting – The cast was phenomenal and highly entertaining.

Directing – Gavin O’Connor wore many hats for this project and still showed he has what it takes to pull of a good film.

Writing – As stated in prior paragraphs, the writing and underlying story made the movie and took us on an emotional roller coaster.

Sound – The score was fabulous with how it contrasted between your typical testosterone charged fight music, and then classically themed masterpieces when Brendan, the school teacher, entered the ring.

Visual – Visually, this film is a rush!  It is like a really good behind the scenes view of MMA fighting.

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Overall

When taking a look at the full picture, my overall opinion is that this film is a must see and good for MMA fans or general audiences.  There are elements to draw anyone into the movie.

I give Warrior an 8 out of 10.