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I’m a big MMA fan, and I’m still waiting for them to make a good MMA themed movie. The sport has had a definite impacted recent action cinema. You only have to look at movies like “The A-Team”, starring former UFC champ Quentin ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Steven Soderbergh’s impending “Haywire”, starring Gina “The Face of Women’s MMA” Carano, and “The Expendables”, which features multiple big-name fighters, to realize that these athletes are now everywhere in popular culture. And checking out the fights in films like “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” (which also stars MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski) you’ll recognize that on screen hand-to-hand combat is starting to look a lot like something you’d see on a Saturday night pay-per-view.
Actually, I’m still wondering if it’s even possible to make an MMA based film that isn’t either a “Bloodsport” rehash, or a retelling of “Rocky” in a cage instead of a ring. “Blood and Bone” was pretty close. Perhaps “Warrior”, the upcoming film from Gavin O’Connor, will be the movie I’m waiting for. The cast is solid, with Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte, and it is certainly a step up in class from films like “Death Warrior” and “Circle of Pain”. However the latest trailer for “Warrior”, embedded below, makes the film look like another formulaic, uplifting, triumph-of-the-human-spirit type sports movie. But what else do would I expect from the guy who brought ups “Miracle”?
Here’s a quick synopsis of the film:
An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) 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, (Joel Edgerton) a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family after being suspended from his day job. Even though years have passed, recriminations and 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.
“Warrior” opens in theaters September 9th. Maybe it will be good, it certainly has potential to distinguish itself from the pack of direct-to-video fight movies currently choking your Netflix queue.
Get more images and videos in our “Warrior” preview page.