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#3. Warrior - Review

Warrior 2011 Film PosterWarrior is an amalgamate of almost every big boxing movie made in the last 30 years or so, painted over with a nice new coat of blood and viscera that only mixed martial arts (MMA) could provide. It tackles the powerful relationship between brothers similarly to last year’s The Fighter or to a lesser extent Scorsese’s Raging Bull. The down-and-out coach that comes back to train the underdog like Million Dollar Baby. The has been father that must put his marriage and body on the line to provide for his family is a major them in both Warrior and classic fight films like Cinderella Man and The Champ. Hell, they even throw in some Russian villainy to remind us all of how Ivan Drago must break anything in Rocky IV.

Originality may not be the film’s strongest asset; but Warrior was still a blast to watch. While I prefer the sweet science of boxing to the bloodlust provided by the MMA, the choreographed battles inside the octagon were thrilling to watch. The premise of two brothers unknowingly entering a tournament to prove once and for all who the “toughest man in the world is” was as engaging as any sports film can get. Couple that with emotionally fractured family dynamics that elevate the film past genre drudgery, and what is produced is a truly gripping piece of melodrama.

Like the best boxing films, the intensity found outside of the arena is even more engrossing and intense than the physical bouts themselves. I hate discussing plot on this blog, and I definitely think going into Warrior without knowing the main plot points will be a great service to your experience. Unfortunately the trailer, perhaps unavoidably, does give away much of the drama found in the film, going so far as to give you a pretty good idea on how the entire film will play out. That being said, this is a heavy film. The main performances by the brothers Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton along with their rehabilitated father played by Nick Nolte are some of the year’s best. Heartbreaking and affective without ever being sentimental, the scenes showcasing the three disconnected family members hit harder than any punch thrown in the film. I really enjoyed my time with Warrior. 

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