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Warrior Reviews

Page 1 of 291

Super Reviewer

November 11, 2011
Sports movies are tired. Have been for a while. You can see each beat coming and it all feels like a colour by numbers experience. Most of the time. Then there's Warrior.

Two brothers come together in the same Mixed Martial Arts competition for entirely different reasons to win the cash prize.

It's a pretty simple plot, and that really is it. But it's the way that such a simple story has an emotional kick like a horse which is really impressive. Each of these brothers is damaged in their own way and neither of them have really found a way to deal with the psychological distress their father has caused since the day they were born. As the movie unfolds, the extent of this damage becomes clearer and the relationship with their father more strained and defined. This emotional tension is ratcheted up notch by notch until it reaches breaking point, coincidentally at the same point that the action is at its climax. It's this beautiful choreography of emotional engagement and intense and furious action which puts this film above others of the same ilk. Gavin O'Connor's handling of these usually opposing forces is masterful; he maintains a familiar handheld style throughout proceedings but his restraint during purely dramatic moments shines through after the chaotic capturing of the action. He lingers on scenes in hotel bedrooms when a son comforts his father or when a husband makes difficult decision because it's reflective of their mindset. He blasts through the action because it's fast and brutal and over in fleeting glimpses. That being said, the fights and camerawork are choreographed so well that you're never straining to see what's going on. It's in capturing the feel of these situations with equal ease and control that O'Connor proves his mastery of the craft.

O'Connor's influence extends to the script as well. Being one of the principal writers on the film, he keeps the focus on these two brothers at the core of the story. Bringing the two of them together on a contrivance would feel like a cheat, but the way both brothers are entered into the contest feels natural and plausible, allowing the audience to maintain some illusion of reality throughout the film. Their status in the competition feels earned as well. Brendan (Edgerton) is almost a joke by the time he steps in the ring. We may be fans of his but the audience at Sparta are not. He's there after someone is forced out due to injury and he's never seen as more than a low level threat. Tommy (Hardy), on the other hand, is the contest's dark horse; a brutal, terrifying hulk who has no restraint and shows no mercy as he smacks down opponent after opponent. O'Connor is able to show us the two of these very separate characters with subtle character definitions and hints along the way, and eventually shows us the juxtaposition between the two; the contrasts, their strengths and most importantly, their weaknesses. Tommy is strong because of his anger. Brendan finds strength in the ones he's fighting for. Their climactic fight is not just a fight, it's brother vs brother with no real notion of who will actually win.

And these two brothers are played with quiet brilliance by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Hardy may now be known for playing Bane, but his performance is here is so impressive; restrained, dark and furious and completely believable that it's a crime he didn't gain his fame from Warrior. He's so powerfully withdrawn in quiet moments and understandably antagonistic in others, less understandably in others, but he plays it all with such conviction that it's astounding to see. The flip side of his coin is Edgerton who turns in an equally impressive performance as the more relatable Brendan. He doesn't have the haunted anger to play with as Hardy does, but his soulful, open performance makes him a pleasure to watch. When the two clash for the first time, meeting on a beach for a painful, angst-filled conversation, it's amazing to see the two of them finally sharing the screen. Spending most of their time apart during the film is a bold decision, but it pays off after seeing stunning duets like this one. But the film isn't sole property of these two. Nick Nolte plays their father, and his is a towering performance, full of regret and the pain of knowing the mistakes he's made and having his attempts to fix them rejected time and time again by his sons. His alcohol-fuelled breakdown is one of the more painfully beautiful moments of the film. His occasionally cloying attempts to reconnect clashes beautifully with Tom Hardy's stoicism and the two of them are wonderful together. Jennifer Morrison also has a part to play, as the life we have to hope for on Brendan's behalf. If she wasn't as charismatic as she is, our attachment to Brendan's cause wouldn't have the strength it needs to make a connection. Thankfully, she manages to maintain a realistic sense of their relationship as well as keeping up a level attraction and support for her husband that helps us to understand what he must be going through.

The music is not the main focus of the film, which is good because the original score is nothing special. Besides a few moments where Beethoven has been remixed into an action film score with great results, it's mostly stuff we've heard before. But the soundtrack is wonderful, with a great choice of sleepily beautiful acoustic based track with an amazing use of Today by The National in the final fight which adds a huge amount of emotion to a moment which is already supercharged with it.

Even though it's technically a sports movie, few of that genre have been put together as well as Warrior has. Gavin O'Connor's ability as both a writer and director shines through in every moment. Sure, it's great to see Tom Hardy pummel someone into unconscious with the self-assured savagery of a gladiator, but it's moments when we see Tommy sitting alone in his dressing room; cut off from any real connections, or Paddy's joy at barely glimpsing his grandchildren through a doorway that the film really shines.

Defining Scene:
Tommy and Brendan fight and The National starts playing. Cue the waterworks.
Al S

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2010
It`s a hard knockout with fist, feet and heart. A spectacular and heart-pounding action-packed drama. A masterpiece. Director, Gavin O`Connor crafts a wonderful, fierce and moving combination of stunning martial arts action and powerful drama. An incredible and deeply moving film. A true tour de force that`s a must-see. It has you standing up and cheering. A breathtaking and inspiring piece of work. This is one hell of a strong and unforgettable movie that pulls all the punches and then some. The characters are well drawn and the performances are convincing and gripping. A tremendously entertaining action-packed ride. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are electrifying, they give some impressive and heart-wrenching performances. Edgerton and Hardy give career making performances. Nick Nolte is superb, one of his best performances ever in this film. Their chemistry feels so real and hits all the right notes. Frank Grillo is outstanding. This movie grabs hold of you by the heart and dose not let go until the very end. For over two hours you will be held spellbound by this astonishing movie.
EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

March 2, 2013
03/03/2013 (Online)
Dean !

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2011
A great, engrossing film. Picked a good cast for it to, a real mix of Rocky & The Wrestler combined along with some awesome fights.
Sam B

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2011
More than a little implausible and full of cliches, "Warrior" nonetheless emerges a champion - it's beautifully shot, brilliantly acted, and full of emotion and suspense. Plus, it has one of the best montages I've ever seen.
Eugene B

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2012
A gripping and reality-driven story that beats you to the punch and grabs you by the heart. The gritty in-your-face action was well interpreted and rare in the form of an MMA-based script. Nolte revives himself in this role and Edgerton and Hardy make a great one-two punch as well. The final spectacle is what brings everything together and provides purpose and realization. Warrior has the strength to knock you down and gives you the courage to stand back up for more. 5/5
Saskia D

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2012
Loved it! A moving and exciting film. The Fighter meets The Wrestler and then some!
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

May 29, 2012
A pretty good movie that could have been a great one. As it was, it was well over two hours, but in a way, this could have been even longer, or maybe an HBO mini-series - that the brothers are on a collision course is evident from the beginning, and the challenging relationships are well laid out, but the father storyline featuring Nick Nolte gets short shrift in the conclusion. The conflict between the two brothers didn't seem the most serious in the film, as they both had a bigger conflict with their recovering alcoholic father; the sibling rivalry kind of paled in comparison. I suppose the message is that "brothers stick together," but "both brothers and the father all work it out and stick together" would have been better. Maybe the ending is supposed to tell us that eventually this will happen, but I wasn't convinced, and I didn't think they should have left the father conflict hanging. That said, it's still a montage-heavy, high stakes fighting movie that's enjoyable... and maybe for the first time ever, I might have actually wanted a movie to be longer. It's lean for such an ambitious story, but in a few places, it kind of shows through.
Emily A

Super Reviewer

March 23, 2012
I enjoyed this movie way more than I thought I would. I didn't like Rocky and I didn't have any interest in seeing The Fighter, and this seemed no different to me. How wrong I was.

I really loved and really cared about every character in this movie. I also think it's wonderfully elegant how the past interacts with the present very naturally; we don't get the exposition in flashback but through how frosty the characters with history treat each other, and how you only find out later why. I ended up feeling kind of sorry for Paddy actually, since you never actually saw the abuse that soured his sons towards him. His two sons have been placed on either side of him by circumstance, and this divide has molded the two brothers into completely different men who carry the same pain very differently. I saw this movie just out of love of Tom Hardy, but he's the icing on a really delicious cake. In the ring he's really vicious and imposing, but sadness and genuine bitterness permeate his character. It's like all his years of anger have served only to make him really sad and isolated, and violence is the only avenue he has left to express himself. Hardy's body language alone speaks volumes, especially in his exchanges with Brendan (Joel Edgerton). Both actors' natural accents are invisible as well, and anyone who's seen Inception would never recognize Eames. Luvvit! This movie is miles above Rocky in terms of emotional realism and richness of character. I also think that this film, more artfully than any other I've seen, poetically marries all the character's baggage with their fight styles in the ring. It's really devastating at the end when the brothers have to fight each other, but what other outcome could there possibly be?
Tyler R

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2012
One of the best films of 2011. It's powerfully acted, well-written, well-directed, realistic, very emotional and most of all, inspiring. I was actually cheering in my seat in the theater during the fighting scenes. Alot of the actors give performances that I think should've gotten more recognition. Joel Edgerton brings his A-game and sets the gorundwork for the emotion with his brother played by Tom Hardy, one of the most underrated actors alive. (He's going to be awesome in The Dark Knight Rises, just saying.) Hardy does a great job and Nick Nolte definately should've gottten nominated for an Oscar for his role. This film is a must-see for people into MMA, people who like an emotional drama or someone who just wants to see an awesome movie.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

March 10, 2012
2011 was a good year for movies. Even the ones that tread old ground still achieved their own identity. Just look at the Oscar winning "The Artist", for harking back to silent films; "Hugo", for reminding us of the origins and the magic involved in making them; "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" remake also found an audience, a mere two years after the Swedish original. This is another, that manages to take an old formula and still make it work.
Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) returns to his hometown Pittsburgh after serving time as a Marine. When back, he prepares for the worldâ??s biggest mixed martial arts tournament, reconnecting with his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), who takes up his training. Meanwhile, his estranged brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), realises he has to return to his old fighting ways if he has any hope of saving his family from crippling financial debts.
This is no basic rags to riches sport flick; there's personal history to the three main characters. It has the working class background and fighting montages that lead to the obvious comparisons to "Rocky" or more recently "The Fighter". But even though this is on similar, well worn territory, it's greatest achievement is in delivering something surprisingly fresh and all it's own. The two lead performances are excellently delivered by Hardy and Edgerton but it's Nolte, as their estranged alcoholic father, that really stands out. A great moment, in particular, between the tortured characters of Nolte and Hardy in a diner where the tables turn. As soon as Nolte takes over as trainer, he becomes the patriarch once more. Meanwhile, Edgerton (reminding me of a younger Russell Crowe) combines the family man with ferocious fighting abilities more than competently. The sport itself has rarely been covered on screen. David Mamet touched upon it in 2001 in his impressive film "RedBelt" but that didn't take much of the fighting into the ring. This does. It has the usual sports flick cliches; the underdog; the montages; the friends and relatives watching at home; the opinionated commentary at ringside. If truth be told though, it's a winning formula. But where this film succeeds is in it's human drama. The characters are real and instill a sympathy and sensitivity while building to it's inevitable conclusion. There are moments that genuinely have you on the edge of your seat and ultimately punching the air with delight. (particularly Edgerton's fights).
Despite the formula and abundance of cliches, this still manages to transcend them and come out a winner. A great sports film that hits all the right buttons.
Liam G

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2011
Gavin O'Connor incorporates a tale of a dysfunctional family into a typical underdog sports story. Sounds just like 2010's ''The Fighter''. Yet this is still a superbly-acted, gripping and exciting film, one that has a strong emotional core. Oh, and give Nick Nolte an Oscar nomination now!
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

February 22, 2012
I had no interest in watching this film to begin with, I'm not much of a sports fan, I don't like violence and doubted it would be as good as Rocky, The Wrestler, Raging Bull etc so why bother. I don't even know what MMA stands for. It was only seeing the many decent ratings by you beautiful people, my flixster friends, who convinced me it was worth a go and I'm glad I did because most of you were right, Warrior is a fantastic film! I really didn't think you could tell another original, compassionate and compelling story in the genres but I was totally wrong, Gavin O'Connor has made a brilliant film. Along with his fantastic direction and the hard work and determination from Hardy and Edgerton and not forgetting the heartbreaking performance from Nolte, which he thoroughly deserved the Oscar for, it had all the right ingredients for a great film, and it is a great film. Definitely one of my favourite 2011 films.

Super Reviewer

August 4, 2011
Family is worth fighting for.

Epic! Well done. Very good story and film. I love how the acting throughout was excellent. Cool movie!

Two brothers face the fight of a lifetime - and the wreckage of their broken family - within the brutal, high-stakes world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting in Lionsgate's action/drama, WARRIOR. An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father. But when Brendan's unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2010
Whether you're a fan of MMA or not (I'm not), Warrior is a very good movie. The story of two down-and-out brothers being reunited in a high-stakes fighting tournament doesn't shy away from trying to pull at the heart strings in almost every way possible, but it doesn't come off as schmaltzy. It doesn't hurt that the performances and fight scenes are top notch.

Warrior is the kind of sports drama that has appeal beyond just devotees of the actual sport. Check it out.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

January 27, 2012
A compelling drama where the genre clichés actually work. The main characters have their personalities and motivations quite efficiently developed, and even though the plot is driven by several coincidences and we know exactly where it is moving to, we end up caring and cheering a lot for the both of them.

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2011
although im a huge sorts fan, im not a MMA fan at all, so my review is based more on film than a love for the sport portrayed. i loved this movie. although a few sports film cliches are present, most are handled well, and in other areas the methods of convention are avoided all together. the characters are compelling, the dialogue very well written, and the story kept me engaged moment by moment. i was ready to declare this a five star film and one of the best sports films of all time until the lazy and very unsatisfying ending that failed to bring the film's many themes full circle, which was surprising because the themes were handled so well up to that point. overall, one of the better sports films you will ever see.

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2010
Cast: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dunn, Maximiliano Hernández, Bryan Callen, Sam Sheridan, Noah Emmerich, Kurt Angle, Erik Apple

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Summary: Set in the violent and merciless world of mixed martial arts combat, director Gavin O'Connor's tale of two brothers at war with each other features plenty of wild ring action as well as emotional family drama. Tom Conlon (Tom Hardy) and older brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) have pursued separate lives, but when Tom returns home to ask his father's help in preparing for a championship bout, events lead the siblings back into each other's paths.

My Thoughts: "Warrior, is a movie where few words are needed because the emotions coming from this film speak louder then words. A very intense film with a family full of mistakes and hurt. Nick Nolte should definitely get some award buzz for his performance. He blew me away and brought tear's to my eyes. The film makes you emotional. You can't sit through this film and not feel what these character's are going through. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy (swoon lol) give magnificent performances. Just a great drama. The fights are insane. Tommy Colon is the hero and Brendan Conlon is the under dog in this story. The relationships in this family is very vulnerable and it was like an edge of your seat feeling waiting to see how it turns out for them. A definite must see."

Super Reviewer

January 12, 2012
Bryan Callen: Lock up the china because the boys are at it again! 

"Family is worth fighting for"

I can easily say this is the best fighting movie I have ever seen. Even though it is really a family drama disguised as a MMA movie, the fights could not be better. The way they are filmed, each one feels like a climax. The movie just keeps building strength as it goes. The punches come harder both physically and emotionally. I really didn't think the most touching film of the year would come from one based in MMA tournament, but I also didn't expect it to be nearly as good as it was. I guess I was wrong.

There's a lot going on with this movie. A Marine, Tommy, returns home where he meets his father, Paddy, at his house. Within the first three minutes of their conversation, you can see that Tommy has no love for his father. But he soon enlists him as his trainer for the "Superbowl of MMA," Sparta. Tommy also has an older brother Brendan, who is a physics teacher, who's home is about to be foreclosed on. He begins to fight to make money, and somehow squeaks his way into Sparta. Both are underdogs there, but both are tougher than the others. Tommy also doesn't have much love for his brother. When Tommy and his mom left because the father was an alcoholic who slapped her around, Brendan stayed behind with his father and girlfriend(now his wife). All this family drama just compounds the lead up to the ending. 

The craziest thing about the movie is that it manages to be somewhat suspenseful. That's one thing I really didn't think it could be, seeing as they told us straight up in the trailer that these two brothers would meet in the championship. So of course they're going to win all their matches. What made it suspenseful was the great tension that Gavin O'Connor was able to create. No matter if it was the family drama or the actual fights, there was so much tension in everything that was going on. When the movie finally reaches that final fight, it is a sight to behold. It's thrilling, compelling, and ultimately touching, in ways that I've never seen before.

Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte, who play the three family members are fantastic. They all bring out the most from their characters. Tom Hardy plays Tommy, who is such an emotionally deep character. Tommy was in the Marines, and in order not to give too much away, I'll say that a lot of stuff happened there that has had an affect on him. He's quite and lacks the emotion he should have. He hates his father for forcing him and his mother  into leaving. He hates his brother because he feels like he was abandoned by him. Tom Hardy also just got me even more pumped up for The Dark Knight Rises. His fighting scenes in this movie are awesome, so it is going to be amazing when we finally get to see him as Bane. Edgerton plays Brandon. His character is more out of the book, but still compelling. As I said he is a teacher. He has a wife and two daughters, and not much money. His house will be foreclosed on soon. So he has to win this tournament, where the reward is 5 million dollars. He also hates his father, but wants to be close to his brother. Nolte plays Paddy. He is a recovering alcoholic who just wants to be forgiven by his two sons. He constantly is trying to get as close to them as he can, but they just turn him away. 

Warrior is just a terrific movie. To just compare it to the likes of Rocky and The Fighter would be an understatement. As much as I like those other two, I like this even more. Phenomenal work from all involved.

Brendan Conlon: I'm your brother, man. 
Tom Conlon: You were in the Corps? 
Brendan Conlon: What? 
Tom Conlon: I said I didn't know you were in the Corps. 
Brendan Conlon: I wasn't in the Corps. 
Tom Conlon: Then you ain't no brother to me. My brother was in the Corps. 
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