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|Index||533 reviews in total|
"Warrior" may be one of the best movies of the year that no one sees.
That in itself is puzzling. Mixed martial arts and UFC are in the
cultural mainstream; in fact MMA is more popular than professional
boxing. Director and writer Gavin O'Connor did the amazing "Miracle" a
few years back about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. So he has the
touch for inspirational sports stories. In "Warrior" estranged brothers
Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) fight each
other in the finals of the winner take all mixed martial arts
tournament Sparta in Atlantic City. "Warrior" is an inspired story of
family, honor, and redemption. I applauded at the end of the movie
along with the rest of the audience.
"Warrior" is a paradox of styles as inspired by its leads. Tommy (Hardy) is the AWOL Marine war hero from Afghanistan. He literally tore off a submerged tank door, saving those inside. Tommy plows through opponents with sheer rage and power. He is explosive technique. We witness this as he savagely dismantles world middle weight contender "Mad Dog" Grimes (cocky Erik Apple) with kicks, punches, and throws in an impromptu sparring session. Tommy mysteriously appears at his Dad's door step in Pittsburgh. He blames Paddy (powerful and sublime Nick Nolte) for the death of his mother. Brendan (Edgerton) is the high school physics teacher and former UFC fighter. He and his wife Tess (strong Jennifer Morrison) work several jobs to pay their upside down mortgage. Brendan gets an entry into Sparta to save his family home. He is smart and willing to take punishment to leverage his opponent's mistakesgetting a tap out. Brendan like Tommy has no love for their recovered drunk Dad (Nolte).
At the narrative arc Brendan says to Tommy, "I love you!" And neither will back down. I think O'Connor and writers Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman at times overstate the family dysfunction. "Warrior" could have been leaner, as strange as that sounds. The mixed martial arts fighting are world class and many of the fighters are MMA stars. Former professional wrestling champion Kurt Angle is fierce and dominating as Russian champ Koba. His match with Brendan is vicious and amazing. "Warrior" authentically gets the brutality and precision of mixed martial arts. Hardy and Edgerton are awesome. I read that Hardy trained intensely gaining 30 pounds of muscle. He broke ribs and fingers. Edgerton tore his knee out during the shoot.
"Warrior" has a gritty atmosphere that is all about character and adversity. O'Connor seamlessly captures this in the simple camera shots and intimate dialog. He generates amazing performances. Edgerton is the delicate balance of compassion and focus. His Brendan is a good and decent man. Hardy has an electrifying enigmatic presence. He provokes a painful sadness and rage in Tommy, for whom honor and family are everything. Nick Nolte poignantly plays their broken father, who is pivotal in the redemption of his sons. Ultimately, "Warrior" is about forgiveness and love. It is one of the year's best.
I was lucky enough to catch Warrior at Empire's Big Screen at the O2 in
London last week as one of their secret screenings and I have to say it
was a very pleasant surprise. It seems it wasn't just me either,
eves-dropping on rest of the audience as we left revealed there was an
all round endorsement by the crowd. Funnily many of the conversations
would begin 'I wouldn't usually go and see a film like that but
I can certainly second. I will also avoid spoilers here as I went into
this completely unaware and certainly benefited from it.
The film follows two fighters and their families as they enter the big bucks mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, Sparta. It has the usual balance of down on his luck good guy doing it for the family (Joel Edgerton) and a seemingly brutal fighter who is looking for a payday (the suddenly ubiquitous Tom Hardy). Throw in Nick Nolte as a sad, reformed drunk of a father and we have the basic elements of another run of the mill sporting movie. Or at least that's how it starts. It doesn't particularly throw any curve balls to be honest but it does unfold interestingly and we are not given the whole story on a plate which was refreshing. It examines family relationships and regret and faces the terrible truths when some wounds just cannot be healed by forgiveness once it is too late.
It's not all family drama though and unsurprisingly it does have a hellova lot of fighting in so even though I think it is enjoyable for most if you can't stomach the violence then don't bother with it. However the fighting is well balanced within the narrative, excellently shot and excitingly edited so we do not get the cliché slow-mo or the epic hour long battle even for the big finale. Some of the fights are brutally quick and even those that go the distance are edited down very well indeed while maintaining that punishing feeling - they certainly had the audience ooomph'ing and wincing along with every slam and punch. There will be blood along with some horrible curdling crunches too.
Aside form the action Rocky (1976) and The Wrestler (2008) seemed to be more about the individual and their demons and while there are elements of that here it really focuses on the (dysfunctional) family drama. Of course it is going to get the obvious comparisons to The Fighter (2010) but I don't think it's a bad thing and that should really be taken as a compliment. I would not be surprised to see it picking up a few awards along the way too. Even if one was to compare the two I think Warrior stands up very well and having the film follow two fighters marks it apart. Like the fighter though the two leads are outstanding and worthy of all the attention they will receive for them. Performances are impressive across the board in fact and it's wonderful to see Nick Nolte back in the frame with a delightful role that he seems to slip perfectly into. (A sorry ex-drunk with a history of violence - apologies Nick!) As well as their acting performances the two main characters are to be complimented on their believable appearance as fighters with some impressive physique on display. Both of our fighters here are easily as believable as the muscled yet high pitched and whiny Wahlberg and certainly must have done a fair bit of training for the role too. Although that wouldn't really be a surprise for anyone that has seen Hardy in Bronson (2008) most will know him from his turn in Inception (2010) which is something completely different. Joel Edgerton too looks different from the roles I remember him in Kinky Boots (2005) and Animal Kingdom (2010) - as well as his Uncle Owen turn mean this is another impressive transformation.
As much as I love this film there are a few gripes as there always has to be (sorry I've yet to find a 10/10 film!). Props to director Gavin O'Connor who also wrote the story and starred but the direction could have been a bit tighter and its not a movie where every scene is trimmed with a few wasted shots or lazy and obvious camera work. Although performances were all good some of the characters seemed to lack depth and I felt the wife (Jennifer Morrison) was a little underused as I thought Nick's role also seemed to be forgotten about in the final third. These are very minor quibbles but unfortunately the main one is that it's a product of its self - it's difficult for any film like this to avoid the cliché or cheesy ending. A film focusing on two main fighters in the same competition was always limited on outcomes and although Warrior does it's best I'm afraid the ending could have been handled a bit better.
Very enjoyable movie that I hope gets the audience it deserves. Give it a try even if it's not your usual cuppa tea.
8 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, actually this is a decent sports drama, and I would rate it 6.5-7
if it wasn't for an utterly horrifying plot element that seems to have
escaped most people: The main hero of the story is forced into
foreclosure of his home by an arrogant banker who weaseled him into his
loan in the first place, and now refuses to extend it. His only way out
is to participate in a no-holds-barred fight tournament organized and
financed by - an arrogant Wall Street banker! Just how sick is that?
The people who force ordinary Americans into bankruptcy get the
additional kick of watching said Americans get their heads bashed in -
and be grateful for the wads of cash they may receive if they make it.
Exactly like 'Hunger Games', only there it's criticized and in a SciFi
setting, whereas 'Warrior' glorifies this state of things and is set in
the present day! Almost as if the US today were some sort of Ancient
Rome, where the impoverished should be thankful for their chance to
prove their merit in the arena like the gladiators of yore.
Other reasons for me to dislike the film were various plot gaps wider than the Grand Canyon: if a soldier goes AWOL in Iraq - how can he resurface in the US under a different name? Are we supposed to believe that US immigration turns a blind eye on disgruntled young men? Besides the fact that the feat, for which he is so celebrated in the film, is physically impossible (body submerged in water = no leverage).
Then there's the 'Rocky' thing: below-than-average fighter trains for a big tournament and makes it against all odds. In 'Rocky', however, the whole story is about getting there, how to overcome the shortcomings of the body by willpower, and the final fight is a draw, not a victory - because in that film, the emphasis is on keeping it real, and that's what makes it a classic. 'Warrior', however, features totally unbalanced fight sequences; the only difference to wrestling would be the missing name calling, and that it presents itself as a real deal, where in fact anybody who's ever done a bit of martial arts can only shake his head and go WTF.
On the plus side, there's Nick Nolte's great presence in a, however, highly cliché role. But aforementioned plot element, which I perceive as an assault on common sense and civil rights, prompts me to condemn this film completely. If there's anyone in this film who'd deserve a good thrashing, it's the organizer of the Sparta tournament!
Please don't read this if you don't want the ending given away.
I've noticed a lot of people complaining that the ending spoils the film and is clichéd because the underdog and not the better fighter wins.
I'm not suggesting that my interpretation is the right one but my view is somewhat different than the one some people hold. It is perfectly logical to point out that Brendan had hard fights to get to the final and that he would probably have been exhausted and that Tommy has had a much easier route.
However, the point is that he made that route easier because of his rage. Tommy is only the more destructive force because of that. His demons are driving him on because he is lost. He cannot or will not reach out to connect with his father or brother. The point is that the dam is broken when he sees his father in the hotel room raging against Ahab. This is deeply symbolic. I think you are meant to draw the connection with Ahab who was driven by his own rage with the rage of the father which destroyed his family to the rage which Tommy now feels. Even though he is drunk it is no coincidence that his father refers to Tommy as Ahab and bellows at him to stop the ship. At the point that Tommy takes him in his arms and holds him he begins the healing process but loses what makes him such a formidable fighter. Thus he is simply unable to blow his brother away in the way that he has done to every other opponent.
The other crucial point (and you would have to be a younger brother to fully get this one) is that Tommy doesn't really want to beat his brother at that point. He needs to know that his brother loves him and perhaps that he regrets not reaching out to him when they were younger. The fact that he taps out only at the point when Brendan says he loves him is significant as is the fact that he breaks down in the corner before the final round. Had he still been carrying his rage he would surely rather have been rendered unconscious than submit.
In other words, for me it was the perfect ending and the more you think about the film the more profound it seems.
All in my view of course. Which could be a load of old rubbish.
A very cliché sports story, with so many corny moments that you'll have seen in six dozen other films that it becomes ludicrous long before its end. Yet, in some ways, it's pretty well done, and it nearly overcomes those clichés. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy play two brothers who parted ways way back when they were teenagers. Hardy went away with his mother and later joined the Marines after she passed away. Now he has returned to his father (Nick Nolte), a former drunk who drove his family apart. Edgerton didn't like his father much, either, but chose not to go with his brother and mother because he was in love with the woman he would eventually marry (Jennifer Morrison). Both brothers are skilled fighters and have their eyes set on the big prize in a mixed martial arts tournament. The film somewhat succeeds because it's very low-key. Most of the time, it's hard to notice how melodramatic and predictable the story is. The performances help, too (Joel Edgerton was my favorite of the three big characters). After a while, though, we get stuff like a wife who refuses to watch the fight impatiently pacing behind her cell phone, on a table in the foreground, waiting for a call to tell her her husband has won a match. And Hardy's story is beyond ridiculous - he gets invited to the tournament after beating up a trained MMA champion in a local gym - never mind that Hardy, at best, was just a trained wrestler many years ago in high school. Being in the Marines does not give you superpowers. That's just the start of the ridiculousness that ends up, obviously, with the two brothers fighting in the ring (with Edgerton's wife, at this point, of course watching from ringside). I should probably call Gavin O'Connor one of the best directors of the year, because, as over-the-top as all this stuff is (and, believe me, I barely scratched the surface - the movie runs for 2 hours and 20 minutes), it generally doesn't feel that way. If one doesn't look too closely at it, I could imagine it seeming great. But it's not.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a teenager, I'm definitely inexperienced in the world of MMA. But
this movie is not about MMA, and that is set very clear from the start.
Right from the start of the 2 minute trailer. So naturally I was
ecstatic to take my seat in the theater.
Tom Hardy (Tommy Conlon) delivers a moving and emotional performance of a man who has suffered greatly from the ones he loves, and from the field of battle, an all to real reality for people of today. While the younger Tommy suffered the loss of his mother firsthand, his older brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton)has put together a life that a man dreams of, yet is still haunted daily by his past. Only to have it threatened to be destroyed by the bank. Nick Nolte the alcoholic father of the two, has suffered years of remorse and regret from the abuse of alcohol and the neglect of his wife and children is trying to forge a bond but is meeting a stone wall with both of his sons.
The fighting, though it is very well acted and shot, is not about fighting. It is the physical representation of the struggle between the three men, the struggle to forget and forgive and to move on. The demons that possess all three of these men are of such great proportion, the only way they can be relinquished is for them to come together.
It hits home on such a high level on so many different subjects, that you will be floored into your seat as the credits roll in.
An ABSOLUTE MUST SEE :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
this movie absolutely sucks! the whole plot, the clichés! I just do not understand how this movie got such a high rating! The movie has such a dumb storyline! I am wondering if people are giving it a high rating because of the popularity of MMA? The whole movie is just so full of unrealistic possibilities. From the AWAL Marine who becomes a hero on his way out from IRAQ,who all of a sudden becomes an MMA killer? to the moonlighting Teacher who beats down an undefeated MMA fighter? or How about the two brothers fighting each other for the finale? what are the odds of that happening? I am usually not such a hard critic but the unrealistic high rating made me post this. Please people please rate this movie correctly and not just on MMA Scenes. I would never watch this movie again! I think people should re rate this movie once they clearly see how boring and unrealistic this movie is!
First off - great camera-work, hence the 2. Now for the core of the movie - brother vs brother is a fun plot that can be twisted every which way. However as soon as some obviously fake Russian character is introduced with the completely out of place Visotski song playing in the background... the pieces start falling in place. This is a classical American tearjerker feelgood movie. The idea alone of a classic underdog has been made into film 100 times better in Rocky, where not the selfish victory but "all-in" attempt at it is what really counts. A battle that could not be won, yet one does not give up. This is the opposite. What could have been a very dramatic (and believable! and almost heartbreaking!) plot of two brothers pitted against each other is washed down the tubes. For someone who has a moderate interest in MMA it is clear the the ending was completely unrealistic and would have never taken place. This is not 1900's, today people are not beaten to within an inch of their life in the ring. To contrast this to any VanDamme flick - think of this movie being a much better attempt at a fighter movie, minus actual fighters who have no acting skills, but add to it American superiority complex and you have the "warrior". Overrated, and sad to say this "warrior" won in the ring but lost to idealism.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay so I'm also one of those people who "only registered to comment on
this movie" and I see a lot of people here being either "OMG! BEST.
MOVIE. EVER." or "omg how can this even be classified as a movie.
Well in my opinion this movie is worth a watch, far from the best or even one of the greater movies I've seen but it was watchable till' the end, it didn't at least feel like a 2 hour movie. What follows are my problems with the film and I think you should see the movie before continuing reading. I'm going to talk about the drama, not how this is a rocky ripoff, fight-scenes, the incredible improbability that these two guys would end up in a tournament like this etc.
SPOILER LINE OF DOOM - DO NOT PROCEED Okay so I gave this film a 6 out of 10 and I don't feel it deserves anything more, and nothing less. I'm really baffled to see how so many people see this as fantastic or great drama, the only dram that i felt had any impact on me was the relationship Tommy had with his father because they actually shared scenes with each other and you really could feel Tommys' anger with his father... unlike the relationship with his brother... which is the climax of the movie.
To me it feels like they just throw a lot of negative events into everyones lives and expect me to instantly feel for them and apparently it works on some people but personally i need more than bad news to care for a person. Brendan has money issues, and he's angry with his father for being a drunk and spending more time with his brother than him, Brendan has one scene where he actually talks to his father. One. You can't expect me to feel anything about this come on.
Tommy. His friend dies, goes AWOL, angry with his brother for leaving, angry with his father for being a drunk and he's an ex-marine. Whoa they really just threw everything and anything into this guy to make him likable. He has one scene with his brother where he says that he's mad because Brendan left. That's it. And this is gonna be sufficient for the finale? It ain't. What, all he ever wanted was for his brother to say he loves him and that would make it all okay? I really just didn't get why they ended this film like they did, I've seen some reviews here from people claiming they cried, personally I was in an emotional what the.. statement. Oh yeah, Tommy is fighting because he made a promise to his dead friends wife that he'd take care of them, we know this from 1 scene where he made a phone call and never speak of this again. I mean... what the hell is with this movie throwing so much in it and not developing anything.
The thing I think the movie got right was the relationship Tommy had with his father Paddy. Nick Nolte does a great performance and I really sympathize with him and it was emotional seeing Tommy finally forgiving him, kind of, maybe he just felt guilty I really don't know they just kind of jumped to the climax from there. Anyway it was nice seeing some closure between them.
Okay first review and it got pretty long, at least I feel I got what I wanted out and think they should have left some parts out and developed other more and for that, it's worth a 5-6. Not the best I've seen, nor the worst, just something watchable in the middle. If this will be the best drama you have seen, like some people on this site claim it is, guess what? There's so many other movies for you to watch than this one, better ones.
How this film got 8/10 stars is beyond me. They meet on the beach at
night for a tête-à-tête? Puhleez. The music is overblown and sappy. The
fight scenes are absurd. Nolte reads from a script that is nothing but
a chain of clichés.
8/10? #145 in the top 250? I guess the knuckle draggers who enjoyed the film know enough to rate a movie online, but not enough to distinguish between this dreck and something that actually required artistry and intelligence ("There Will Be Blood," or "The 400 Blows," or "Barry Lyndon," for example, which are given lower ratings).
No wonder "Idiocracy" was buried...it was too close to the bone for the audiences who screened it.
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