Friday, September 9, 2011


In Short:
Amazing performances, a masterfully symbolic plot, and an enlightening glimpse into the ever growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts all contribute to this exhilarating, emotionally exhausting Drama which is one of the best films of the year


Full review after the jump…

My Ramblings:
You know I love MMA, and you know I've been looking forward to Warrior for quite some time.  I had huge expectations, and I was not let down in the slightest.  Mixer Martial Arts is viewed by those outside the sport as hulking buffoons throwing haymakers until one fighter's roid rage outmatches the others.  If that were true then Bob Sapp would be the greatest fighter of all time, and Anderson Silva would be chilling quietly in Brazil, not ruling the MMA world.  MMA is incredible and it is complicated and it is highly technical, and Warrior brings lights to these facts.  Do the guys with the rage and those weird muscles that connect your shoulders to your ear lobes (ala Brock Lesnar) sometimes win?  Yeah...and Warrior doesn't hide that fact; but the film proves that isn't all the sport is about and I can only hope the masses flock to this movie and the sport continues to flourish.

Oh yeah, and about the movie itself...the film follows the three male members of the Conlon family and the trials all three have faced.  Dad (Nick Nolte, in an incredible return to form performance) is a recovering alcoholic, older brother (Joel Edgerton) is a financially struggling school teacher, and younger brother (a name you should get used to hearing, Tom Hardy) is an angsty Iraq veteran who doesn't hide his hatred for his abusive Pops and his brother whose life has followed a different path than his own.  Dad trained both to be fighters in their youth, and as the first ever MMA mega-tournament (the aptly named Sparta) approaches, both find a way to earn a spot and a shot at the $5 Million winner-take-all prize.  The trailer is fairly revealing about where the story goes from there...

The film draws a clear parallel between the brother's fighting styles and their lifestyles.  Edgerton is the beloved, intelligent teacher who uses a tactical fighting style, whereas Hardy is the heavy handed veteran who uses brawn  over brain.  Each has strengths, each has weaknesses, and the film exposes these beautifully.  The last hour is physically exhausting, and the slowly forming bruise on my right arm from my girlfriend squeezing said arm is evidence of this fact.  Sure, parts of the film follow typical sports movie clichés, but I don't give a damn because these clichés work!  The actors are incredible and the director (Gavin O'Connor) does an excellent job of allowing the emotion expressed by their characters to subtly drive the emotions felt by the audience.  Warrior is the first film of the year that I would love to see get a Best Picture nod, and let's hope this arm bruise doesn't prevent my weekend plans of laying on the couch and watching football for 12 to 14 straight hours.

In a much less important note, I must sadly admit that this movie broke my several year streak of never leaving a theater to go piss mid-movie.  I blame the lack of ice in my 64oz Diet Mountain Dew and the high level of tension caused by the acting.  Damn you Tom Hardy, damn you...


Previews Before the Show:
The Hunger Games - Teaser trailer for the upcoming film based on the popular books.  I haven't read the books, but the excessive hype will no doubt lead to me seeing the movie.

Abduction - Taylor Lautner (aka Twilight Werewolf) is a spy or something.  Blah.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Sequel to Guy Ritchie's first film which will introduce the US to Noomi Rapace who was awesome in the Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander.

In Time - Justin Timberlake continues to boost his film resume in this futuristic thriller were time is money...literally.

1 comment:

  1. I would have to agree with this spot on review. 9.2 from me, would have been higher if Hulk would have had a cameo