Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton
Oh boy, a sports movie. Sure, they come in two flavors (dramatic or family fun), but they’re both just shades of vanilla. I’m constantly amazed how people try to copy Rocky and then have the underdog overcome all odds and win. That’s what happens in the shitty sequels, guys. Winning is not as dramatically impressive as losing. To be fair, Warrior does a better job at getting the idea down than most, but it’s still the high concept of Rocky in the MMA.
Two estranged brothers both start training to participate in a winner-take-all mixed-martial arts tournament, while at the same time their also-estranged father Nick Nolte tries to make amends with them. Against all odds, they both make it through the tournament and end up having to fight each other, and they finally get over their differences by beating the shit out of each other, just like MEN! MEN MEN MAN MEN!!!!!!
I actually really liked Nolte in this movie. He hams it up a little for the Academy in some parts, but overall he plays a really subtly real and depressing character. I think they were trying to do a The Wrestler sorta thing with him in this, and it almost worked. Unfortunately, the last hour of this movie is nothing but guys punching and kicking each other, and that’s a pretty guaranteed way to destroy any dramatic tension you’ve built up, even to the point where the final fight didn’t seem to have any real reason for it to work out the brothers’ problems.