Movie Review: Warrior
September 16, 2011
Judging by last weekend's box office records, most movie-goers went to see Contagion or The Help. As interested as I was in seeing The Help, it was Friday's release of Warrior that I'd been waiting for.
In all honesty, I am not a huge sports fan, even less a fan of sports movies. They're clichéd, always concerned with one thing - winning the game. Yet, I was raised on classic movies such as The Pride of the Yankees, Fear Strikes Out, Chariots of Fire, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and The Natural. In order to interest me in a movie about sports, there has to be a story worth holding my attention, something beyond merely winning or losing the game. Warrior is one of the rare sports-related movies that possesses that.
Simply put, Warrior is a story about family. Two estranged brothers go up against each other in a MMA tournament (Mixed Martial Arts). Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is a former fighter, now a physics teacher. Tommy (Tom Hardy) has been in the Marines, and now wants to fight again. The brothers haven't spoken in fourteen years. Abandonment, disappointment, and an alcoholic father lay between them. Surprise, surprise, they end up facing each other in the final tournament. This isn't really a surprise to anyone who's seen the trailer, or frankly, anyone who's ever watched a movie about fighting. There's never any doubt that the brothers will face each other.
What matters is how much brothers need it, and how much the audience wants to see it. The entire movie has been waiting for the moment when the brothers finally step into the ring together and Warrior doesn't disappoint. For those who enjoy boxing or wrestling, I heartily recommend Warrior. The fight scenes are excellent and visceral. The mixture of boxing and Muay Thai is exhilarating to watch even for those who don't really know what's going on. But mostly, I would recommend seeing Warrior for the story of two brothers struggling to reconcile their past and present, something anyone who's ever had a sibling should understand.