Dinah's Rating: 4.5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.1/10
(4 reviews total)
It is hard to watch Hollywood make the same mistakes over and over again. You get big name stars, capable actors, a wonderful concept and blow it all to hell on a weak execution. Tom Hardy is every bit the rising cinematic powerhouse audiences anticipate, but with weak performances all around him and poor character development, among other principals, Warrior
falls flat on the mat.
As high as Warrior sails on the wings of a dynamic and memorable performance by Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon, it fails in every other filmmaking aspect. Tommy Conlon, the youngest son of an alcoholic (Nick Nolte), returns home where he's trained by his father for Sparta, a mixed martial arts tournament. His entry into the fight puts the fighter on a collision course with his underdog estranged older brother (Joel Edgerton) who signs on for Sparta to keep his house from foreclosure. The men battle their pasts and themselves as they attempt to reconcile the people others think they are and their true identities.
The story aims at exposing the tension of a family and the desperation for forgiveness amidst a coldblooded sport. It could have worked, but it didn’t; the effort sinks a bit lower than The Fighter. Brendan and Tommy Conlon have been estranged for 14 years. Tommy left with his mother when she escaped the abuse of his father Paddy. Brendan stayed behind because he was in love with his school sweetheart. A great amount of time is spent uncovering this melodrama which should garner empathy for Brendan and Paddy. Tommy is set up as an adversarial character that is rough, brutish, and unforgiving. Myself and most viewers who take in this nearly 2.5-hour movie will identify most strongly with Tommy, the only character with on-screen charisma.
The greatest strength of the film is the camera's point of view during the fighting scenes. Rocky and The Fighter chose different camerawork styles that moviegoers will be used to. The former was an in-the-ring point of view including close-ups and fluid camera movement. The latter was stationary HBO style, the view which is more realistic. Warrior takes the path of Rocky, which was a great benefit to the overall motion picture experience. Taking the viewer inside the ring builds on the intensity of the moments. You can feel the bending of each bone and see the sweat pouring in the eyes. That is the way a fight movie should look.
Unfortunately, Warrior lacks the heart and characters of Rocky and is short of the standout performances that made The Fighter a cut above. On the whole it is predictable, melodramatic, and dull. Tom Hardy lights up the screens for his 33-percent cut of the film, but that is not enough to make the other 66 percent worth a moviegoer’s while. It is a DVD-quality movie that will satisfy only a segment of fight movie fans.
Directed by Gavin O’Conner
Written by Gavin O’Conner, Anthony Tambakis, and Cliff Dorfman
Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, and Joel Edgerton
Other Player Affinity Reviews
John thought: "Gavin O'Connor's Warrior
is too long; it's cliched as hell; It's manipulative; parts feel forced and artificial; it's overstuffed with subplots; it's totally unbelievable. But hell if I didn't get caught up in it all. I found myself groaning and rolling my eyes far more than I'd like, but I'm a sucker for a good underdog story, especially one this well-acted. Tom Hardy, Nick Nolteand Joel Edgerton could all receive Oscar nominations, and you wouldn't hear a single complaint from me. But Hardy is the best-in-show. Those who missed out on Bronson know now just how capable this guy is. He gives a very physical performance and makes his potentially one-dimensional character very unusual and interesting." Rating: 7/10
Kieran thought: "Warrior
is very much like The Fighter
, a gritty, urban-set sports and family setting that I ended up enjoying more than the Oscar-winning movie. Unlike The Fighter,
the characters in Warrior
are very grounded (ironic considering The Fighter
is based on real people) and the main protagonist is actually active and not just a puppet of other people. This is a very developed movie, both in character and in its situation and despite its long running time is very well paced. Gavin O’Connor was able to mix the grim urban setting of downtown Pittsburgh, all drag and grey, to the more colorful surroundings of Philadelphia's suburbs. His brutal fight scenes show that MMA is a sport only for the toughest people and he crafts excellent 24-
style training montage comparing a rustic approach to a more modern and scientific one. Edgerton and Hardy are both strong leads and Hardy shows he is likely to make a good Bane. But it was Nick Nolte who was the real winner, playing a role that reminded me of Randy ‘the Ram’ from The Wrestler
, a broken-down man with a dark past who is trying to make amends and look for forgiveness, even if it's not wanted. He was really good in this movie. And most of all, the family drama never played second fiddle to the sport." Rating: 8/10
"In recent years, MMA fighting has become the premier form of shredded-knuckle entertainment, with the UFC able to sell out stadiums with a point of the finger. Not surprisingly, it did not take execs long to greenlight a movie constructed around the fighting event, but what is confounding is how fantastic Warrior
turned out to be and easily takes a place among the best the sports genre has to offer. This 140-minute slow-burn tale of redemption and family dysfunction takes its time with characters, organically integrates its kinetic, gritty bouts in the octagon and glosses over any remaining clichés with ease. This is not a sports movie with characters, this is a character study with some fights and the trio of Edgerton, Hardy and Nolte make you care, make you believe and make you route for them to find comfort in their lives – at least alone, but hopefully together. Warrior
is one of the best movies of the year in all filmmaking elements and is bar none the most crowd-pleasing." Rating: 8.5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.1/10