“You had a choice, okay. You had a choice.” – Tommy Riordan
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a form of sport where one can combat using tackle and smack procedures which includes kickboxing, judo, wrestling etc. There has been handful few movies depicting the same like Jean Claude’s Bloodsport and maybe a Fight Club which has no clear reference too.
If you are apparently fond of sports movies or simply fond of good movies, I would recommend everyone for a rewarding watch with Gavin O’ Conner’s latest offering, “Warrior” which comes years after his previous sports drama “Miracle”; an inspiring and moving true story of Herb Brooks. He is undoubtedly one of the finest in this genre from recent times just on the clout of above two ventures.
Warrior is a movie about two estranged brothers who enter in a fighting tournament; both are keen to win it for their own personal reasons and interests, without striving for glory. In the bargain, they get into a series of personal confrontations which separated them from their estranged father. The youngest brother, Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy), is an ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past who returns home whereas the elder brother, Brendan Conlon played by Joel Edgerton is married with a family and working as a high school teacher struggling hard to make ends meet. The estranged father Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is a former abusive and alcoholic turned Christian old man who was an ex-fighter himself, looking for redemption with both his sons.
The movie with a total runtime of close to 140 minutes starts off with the younger son Tommy meeting his father after a long gap of 15 years in between which he was a U S Marine, seeking help to train him in the upcoming MMA Tournament. The event is called as Sparta, a brainchild by an entrepreneur and an avid sports lover which is a one on one kind of unique competition, where the ultimate winner takes it all. On the other hand elder brother Brendan faces a risk of losing his home for nonpayment of rent and being financially unstable with a family of two kids and wife, gets suspended from his job as a physics teacher for his part time activities as being a MMA fighter. After some acceptance and convincing his wife for a go ahead, Brendan along with his former trainer participates in the tournament.
The first half of this film is leisurely paced with an introduction of the cast to the audience where all characters are established in flesh and blood with enough emotional support on their trials & tribulation. A special mention has to be given to the tense confrontation scene between the two brothers who meet after a long hiatus of 14 years which is top notch to say the least. It explodes with restrained anger, disappointment and hurt making for a great view along with a scene where the father tries to meet up his elder son outside his residence. All the three characters are in complete hatred to each other with Nick Nolte trying his level best to have reconciliation and salvation from his sons for his past deeds.
The film progresses with Tommy winning the ring fights in a matter of few seconds and Brendan’s fight for survival where he even defeats a world champion of past 5 years. The climax has an unlikely situation of two brothers facing each other in the finale of the tournament and rediscovering their love for each other.
The fight sequences are brutal, fast paced, thrilling and intense. One can hardly recall the last time where as a spectator, you would not like either of the contestants to lose a battle. Here it’s not only the action which takes centre stage but the emotional conflict of two isolated brothers which leads to a heart crying moment. The final showdown will remain etched in your memory for long and is a superb high point only to give an understanding for the value of forgiveness.
The fight sequences are well shot and the inclusion of the undisputed champion of the game Koba (WWE superstar Kurt Angle) is impressive. The cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi is top rate especially in the fight scenes which is equally contributed by a good background score and crisp editing.
This brilliant, heart wrenching high octane engaging family drama ranks as one of my favorite movies of the year which teaches you to forgive and forget. Tom Hardy plays a role of his lifetime and would soon in all probability get an Oscar nominee for his versatility and choice of films. I cannot wait to see him play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Joel Edgerton is in top form after his riveting performance in Animal Kingdom. Nick Nolte with his rich experience delivers and gives a fine performance with grace. You get engrossed in their lives and feel for the characters.
A film riding heavily on the powerful performances by all the actors, Warrior is a must watch for the powerhouse emotional content especially before this year ends. This movie will find its way among your best in sports action drama if you have liked movies like Rocky, Cinderella Man, and The Fighter etc.
Unfortunately it was not widely seen and publicized during its release and the coming awards season will only enhance its reputation in future months and deservingly so.
Hitting you on various subjects with a wallop, it gives a knockout feel that you will floored in your seat even the movie is over and end credits roll by.
A genuine honest attempt, made straight from the heart which may even leave you in tears. Experience it!!
Here’s the trailer of the film