January 12, 2012

Warrior - 2011

Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writers: Gavin O'Connor, Cliff Dorfman, & Anthony Tambakis
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, & Nick Nolte

Ex-Marine Tommy (Hardy) returns home to Pittsburgh in order to seek the training of his father (Nolte) for a shot at the $5 million top prize in a mixed martial arts tournament. However, with his high school teacher's salary unable to prevent the bank from foreclosing on his house, Tommy's estranged older brother Brendan (Edgerton) also sets out to enter the tournament.

I saw Contagion the weekend that Warrior hit theaters, and I can say with total certainty that I made a huge mistake. This film was absolutely incredible, and that's coming from a guy who doesn't often gravitate to sports films. Hardy, Edgerton, and Nolte are an immense triple threat of acting, which means a lot for two rising stars and a man who most would write off as having his best days behind him (considering his performance in Ang Lee's abysmal Hulk). The script works really well, getting just the right amount of each man's story to where it's nigh impossible to root for one over the other in the final bout; the main story goes over so well that you can overlook two supporting characters go from being 100% against Brendan fighting to completely in his corner for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Perhaps the box office would have worked out more in the film's favor had this not been made following so closely to The Fighter. At least we can hope that the sanctity of this film won't be ruined by franchisement like the earlier project. A-

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