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“Warror”, Director Gavin O’Connor’s exciting yet flawed film about two brothers who become involved in a high-stakes mixed martial arts event, benefits from the tremendously impressive performances of relative newcomers Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.
Tommy (Hardy) is a soldier with a mysterious past who enlists the help of his formerly alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) to train him to be a mixed martial arts fighter in a high-stakes tournament. Tommy’s older brother, Brendan, is training for the tournament, for the sole reason that his high school teacher salary is not sufficient to provide for his family.
The morals of the film, in particular the importance of family, seemed to be forced on the audience a bit too much. For instance, the expected confrontation between the two brothers essentially consists of Brendan and Tommy condemning one another’s past behavior, and at one point Tommy seems to be pretending that he does not know who Brendan is. Screenwriters Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, and Cliff Dorman seemed preoccupied with reinforcing the film’s important themes, so that one is eager for the slow-moving scenes to end and the fast-moving fighting scenes to commence.
The final moments are incredibly exhilarating in an edge-of-your-seat manner.
Edgerton, Hardy, and Nolte are successful in creating believable family dynamics, and you cannot help but root for them to forgive one another for any mistakes they have made in the past. Despite the fact that 2010’s award-winning boxing film, “The Fighter,” was based on a true story and “Warrior” is entirely fictionalized, the latter is as grounded in realism as is the former.
While Edgerton and Hardy are the surprises here, Nolte also shines, as his character’s regret for all the pain he’s caused his family is evident in his eyes. He wants to be forgiven for not being there for his sons, and his unsuccessful attempts at reconciling these relationships are devastating to watch
“Warrior” is by no means a perfect sports film, but it is an excellent showcase of the talents of rising stars Hardy and Edgerton.
Gavin O’Connor (director) / Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman (screenplay)
CAST: Joel Edgerton … Brendan Conlon
Tom Hardy … Tommy Conlon
Nick Nolte … Paddy Conlon
Jennifer Morrison … Tess Conlon
Frank Grillo … Frank Campana
Kevin Dunn … Principal Zito
Maximiliano Hernández … Colt Boyd