Warrior focuses on two brothers and their father.
Nick Nolte does the dad, Joel Edgerton (“Animal Kingdom”) is the older brother, Brendan and Tom Hardy (“Inception”) plays his younger sibling, Tommy.
Separated by years, family dysfunction and misunderstanding, the two men ironically take different routes to a mega-million dollar ultimate fighter tournament. To get the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) championship, one of them must defeat the most dangerous fighter in the world.
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Both are desperate for the money. Tommy is a Marine hero who has a need to take care of a dead Marine comrade’s family. Brendan is a school teacher trying to stave off bankruptcy.
All they have in common are fabulous fighting skills and hatred for their now recovering alcoholic father.
Warrior’s acting isn’t bad. Edgerton looks a bit flabby to be in elite fighting competition, but he’s a good actor and gives his character multiple dimensions. Hardy is buff and actually looks like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in the ring or anywhere else. He isn’t given a lot to do except glower at all characters within range.
In a limited way, Hardy’s is a great performance.
Nolte is another story. He growls out all of his lines. Time and lifestyle haven’t been kind to Nolte, but in this film most of his lines are — for a change — are actually close to intelligible.
While director Gavin O’Connor (Miracle) does a great job of pacing and directing some exceptional fight sequences, his script suffers. The relationship between the characters and their conflicts is overdone. This leads to multiple overwrought confrontations covering the same territory. It leads you to wonder how all this soap opera crap gets stuck in a movie packed with testosterone?
It’s also ironic because one of the lines in O’Connor’s script makes fun of the daytime soap opera The Days of Our Lives.
Soap suds aside, ultimate fighting fans will eat this one up. As for the rest of us, it depends. If fast-paced, well-choreographed, brilliantly edited PG-13 action is your thing, you will be entertained.
Those craving something more cerebral may want to pass.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, September 9 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.