Two brothers (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton), separated years previously by spousal abuse and a messy divorce, are thrown back into each other’s live when they both apply to partake in the same MMA tournament. You don’t need to have seen this to have a stab at some of the things that are going to happen in this two hour advert of the UFC disguised as a family/sports drama. There will be punches and frowning and those long silences between two men that only happen in films of this ilk.
Warrior can hold up its Academy Award nomination as much as it wants, but, whilst this is an entertaining movie, it drowns under the weight of its own clichés. Take a shot every time one turns up and you’ll be sprawled on the floor like one of Hardy’s opponents in the ring. Angry brother with a heart of gold? Shot! Erstwhile brother trying to escape his past? SHOT! Nick Nolte grumbling every line like a woodchipper chewing an elephant? Hell, I don’t have an Oscar nomination, who am I to judge… Did I mention he’s a recovering alcoholic trying to do right by his sons? Double shot and good night.
Obviously this is not the fault of our leads, who are all dependable (maybe not Nolte). Hardy, in particular, broods so hard he becomes a black hole, sucking in the scenery with each line he utters. Unfortunately, the material they have to work with, well… It could do with packing a bit more punch. The temptation did cross EBFS’s mind to simply reprint our Real Steal review and do a copy and paste job on it. It’s all so lightweight, the fight scenes are only thing that adds any ooomph. Skilfully shot, you feel every kick and sweat drenched punch. However, when the big finale fight comes, the only real surprise is the resolution.
Warrior is a confident film with lots of bark and bite. It just doesn’t know what it wants to say. It does want you to play XBOX and watch UFC though as can be seen through the horrendous product placement. Like Drive, Warrior wants to be serious and it wants you take it seriously. Don’t. Watch it like you would watch Rocky and you’ll have more fun.
Good Luck Nolte, you’re going to need it.