Hollywood makes three MMA movies a month now, and it’s fair to assume that all of them will suck. But Warrior stars Tom Hardy from Bronson, Nick Nolte from dumpster diving, and some guy who looks like Chael Sonnen, which is more than enough to put it ahead of that one with C-Tates, that other one with Cam Gigandet, and that one where Kevin James saves the rec center. Which of course isn’t saying much. Warrior comes from director Gavin O’Connor — who financed the MMA doc The Smashing Machine, so you know he knows the material — and previously directed Miracle, so you know he’s kind of a cheeseball.
Haunted by a tragic past, ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years to enlist the help of his father (Nick Nolte) to train for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all event in mixed martial arts history. A former wrestling prodigy, Tommy blazes a path toward the championship while his brother, Brendan (Edgerton), an ex-fighter-turned teacher, returns to the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin. But when Brendan’s unlikely, underdog rise sets him on a collision course with the unstoppable Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart, facing off in the most soaring, soul stirring, and unforgettable climax that must be seen to be believed.
Tom Hardy is great, and I’d like nothing more than for us to take our shirts off, get greased up, and bump athletic cups for two or three hours while I school him in crotch-jitsu (it’s all in the thrusting). But just because it doesn’t have Kevin James in it doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend it sounds good. It sounds like a Nick Sparks novel set in the world of MMA. The dark secrets, the former prodigy, the estranged family — the only thing missing is someone turning down a fancy scholarship. “I COULDA HAD IT ALL, TAWMMY! I COULDA BEEN FOIST ACCORDION AT DUKE, BUT I TOINED IT ALL DOWN TA TAKE CAYUH OF YA DEAD MUDDAH!”