Directed by Gavin O'Connor
Starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte
Popularity in mixed martial arts (MMA) has grown over the last few decades, but for some reason, MMA hasn’t developed as a movie genre the way boxing films have. You don’t even have to be interested in sports to be drawn to a movie like Rocky or The Fighter. It’s a shame because Warrior deserves attention, not as a sports movie, but as one hell of an interesting story with incredible acting. When you think about it, that’s what makes the best boxing movies stand out too.
Warrior is the story of an unlikely reunion between two estranged brothers, having parted ways following a tumultuous childhood under the care of an alcoholic and abusive father played perfectly by Nick Nolte. The brothers, played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, both re-enter the world of professional fighting out of sheer financial desperation and end up on a collision course with each other. It’s the kind of sad story that’s sad regardless of how the movie ends because it portrays what most people have to live with: difficult situations. Money problems, PTSD following military service, alcoholism, broken families, etc. These are the people that politicians target because they’re so desperate for a better quality of life — the silent masses. To some extent, we’re all “these people” and that’s why a movie like this hits so hard.
Warrior doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It doesn’t feel like a movie you’ve never seen before. That’s not a bad thing. We don’t always need to have our mind blown. Sometimes, as the audience, we need our comfort food. We need that bowl of mac-and-cheese we loved when we were 12. We need that pudding cup. Warrior is just as satisfying because it delivers a story with characters we can believe. They have ambitions we want to root for because we all want to overcome whatever baggage we’re dragging around with us for decades. Gavin O’Connor’s direction keeps you involved, hopeful despite the obstacles, and his casting choices are second to none.