In shock and denial over his Marine father's death in battle, star lacrosse player Conor Sullivan, always a maverick and a hothead, starts acting out in self-destructive ways that have his mom, Claire, at her wit's end, but arduous training in a wilderness lacrosse camp under the tutelage of his dad's old combat buddy, Sgt. Major Duke Wayne, opens Conor's eyes to the true meaning of maturity, sportsmanship and manhood. Written by
Lacrosse with Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene and Adam Beach
In 2011's "A Warrior's Heart" Lutz plays a skilled lacrosse player who's not much of a team-player. His family moves from California to the East Coast where he learns to deal with his hotheadedness. Ashley plays his girlfriend and Beach his Native mentor while Gabrielle Anwar and Chris Potter play his parents.
To be honest, I didn't know much about lacrosse until viewing this movie. Turns out it originated with the Iroquois, inhabiting what is now New York, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the NE America. In some aboriginal traditions the games lasted all day for 2-3 days straight and were played as part of ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, to give thanks to the Creator or Master.
This was a small production, only costing $2.5 million, but it's generally well made with a likable cast and quality soundtrack. Some people have criticized it as predictable, but this is only true in the sense of the sports film maverick who must be broken in order to be a team-player, which ultimately ushers in victory. Beyond this, I wasn't able to predict where the story was going, like a certain person's sudden meltdown and the arduous wilderness lacrosse camp.
The cast is great, but it felt like the story needed something more to hook the viewer, such as edgier drama or deeper subtext, but something. Another flaw is the final game where it's clear there aren't that many people in the audience (or maybe lacrosse doesn't draw that many spectators, but this was a NATIONAL championship). Another glaring flaw is that the wilderness camp is supposed to be in the Northeast when it's clear that it's Southern California. A superior sports movie of this low-budget sort is 2010's "Cutback" (see my review). Nevertheless, "A Warrior's Heart" is a must for fans of lacrosse or sports movies in general, not to mention fans of Lutz, Greene and Beach.
The movie runs 86 minutes and was shot in Santa Clarita (College of the Canyons) and Pasadena, California.
GRADE: C+ (almost B-)
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