A raw and sometimes dark story with astonishing fight scenes, Warrior may be the best drama based on a combat sport since the Rocky franchise. Directed by Gavin O’Conner, whose previous works include one of the top-five sports movies of all time, Miracle, this film showcases a wonderful cast including Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy. Some may remember Hardy from his role in the blockbuster hit Inception.
The plot unfolds as you put together the pieces of two brothers that are former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters who were trained by their alcoholic father. As you piece the brothers’ own personal stories together, you begin finding out what transpired amongst the family to put them under hard times, all while a $5 million MMA tournament is in the works.
Yes, it seems easy to guess how the plot unfolds, but in movies, it is not where you’re going, it’s how you get there. While skeptical of the plot going in, the twists and turns unravel into the perfect storm of emotion for the big tournament. The successful story is largely attributed to a cast that really pulls the viewer in and makes you feel for a very believable, troubled family. The movie however does have its flaws as it finds itself filling in holes in the plot by using social media as a quick fix. It uses a YouTube video or a flash news story on CNN as an opportunity to fill in a blank.
Nonetheless, the last 30 minutes is an adrenaline rush, and for any MMA fan, the movie stays true to the sport with no cheap gimmicks. Warrior is a must see this year and is something you just might not expect.
Tyler Stinson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org