Over the years there have been many films about families who have been torn apart for one reason or another, but not many end with two estranged brothers beating the living shit out of each other.
Well in Warrior that is exactly what happens.
The film focuses around ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) training for the worlds biggest MMA tournament, which also so happens to include his estranged brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), who is returning to the octagon after stepping away to become a high school physics teacher.
Released in 2011, this film was very timely as it was around the rise in popularity of the UFC and you can tell from the cinematography that director Gavin O’Connor is trying to capture the feeling of these intense bouts as well as appeal to a specific demographic.
The addition of a very loose broken home narrative which runs throughout the film doesn’t really give the film any additional texture, instead it just seems to feel like a donkey pulling a heavy load until we get to the tournament itself.
The whole reason why they family don’t like each other is skimmed over with both sons having a form of encounter with their father (Nick Nolte) and then a rather awkward chat on the beach where the supposed animosity between the two is aired out.
Even though the main narrative is a little weak, the way that O’Connor builds up Edgerton’s character as the underdog is quite compelling especially when he overcomes the his ‘toughest test’ against the Russian Koba (Kurt Angle).
Predictably the film concludes with the two brothers standing face-to-face in the octagon with a $5 million prize purse for the winner. But even in these dying moments of the film as a viewer there in no feeling of love or compassion towards either of these characters and with the pair walking out arm in arm felt very cheesy.
If a narrative driven film is what you are after, this is no the one, if you want to see an incredibly well shot MMA match then this is the ticket. It very much feel substance to priority over story on this film, and clocking in at two hours and twenty minutes, you could have easily shaved off a good 45 minutes of this film.
Rating – 1.5/5