Two estranged brothers played by Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy, find themselves facing off in a winner takes all(that being $5 million dollars) MMA match. Their past was torn apart by a drunk father who after years finally got sober and is determined to win back his two boys. This film has kind of had the wrong banner placed on it that it’s some sort of ground breaking MMA film. Now frankly movies involving MMA have been horrible but Warrior goes beyond all that. The story isn’t about the fights it’s about the two men fighting. One is smaller and wins by taking fights to the ground. The other is a monster who beats his opponents to a pulp.
The fight themselves are very well filmed and I think the different fighting styles spices things up so we never get bored. The truth is though the fighting doesn’t matter that much. Joel Edgerton’s character is a family man, two little girls, a beautiful wife. He shelved his fighting career after going to the hospital and promising his wife he’d stop. Becoming a teacher the only reason he gets into fighting is because the bank plans to foreclose his house. Tom Hardy who plays the brother is a mess. Hates his father for being a drunk and making his mom leave town. He also was in Iraq, saved a soldier from drowning, he also lost a close friend. All of these left him bitter and angry and he entered the fights with a rage that could barely be controlled.
Both actors along with Nolte are really strong here but for me Tom Hardy is a serious stand out. Not only is he built huge for this performance but he plays the balance between being heroic and having serious demons. Every time he’s on screen it is a treat. Edgerton is also very good and plays things so well and it’s clear he’ll be a super star soon. The film itself flows very fast and is not just a gritty drama but I film that could be a crowd pleaser as well. It’s not the revolutionary MMA movie some were trying to label it as… It’s better much better than that.