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A movie directed by Gavin O'Connor

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Warrior is the biggest disappointment of the year that knows how to beg for tears...

  • Dec 2, 2011

The weirdest sensation I have when watching a movie is feeling cheated. Feeling like the movie begs for me to invest in anything that happens on the screen. Call me a cynic but I don't like movies that rely on these cheap tricks and Warrior does exactly that. It's the most predictable film of the year mostly because the cliches keep flowing faster than Twista's rap cyphers. What's even more disturbing for me is that after all the misses and the futile mess we witness, Warrior succeeds in delivering a powerful emotional story. Weak story, but still a story that will probably move you enough to consider manning yourself up so your friends won't see you with tears in the corner of your eyes.

Warrior nails the story of two brothers who lived separate from one another the majority of their lives. Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) is an ex marine who went AWOL and found his road back home. He's pretty judgmental, and being raised in a tough environment he acts tough and gets pretty irritating with his father who wasn't there for him at the right time. His brother, Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) is the different side to the same coin. He's more humble, more stable, he's a teacher so he's more concerned with the deeper aspects of life. He too has a tough relationship with his father because of almost the same reasons as Tommy. That's one of the few things that actually connect these two in any sort of way. Their father, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is also an ex marine but also an ex drunk, a man who was too much of a coward to embrace life and his two kids when times matter. Now he has to deal with empathy, insults, heartbreak scenes and a lot of despiteful behavior coming from his two sons especially Tommy which he'll end up train for the big mixed-martial-arts pyramid. Now we all know these two will end up in the biggest MMA tournament fighting for something more than just money. We know from the start that they will find themselves there and that they will deal in and out of ring with their own personal issues, that they will somehow reach a point of  peace, redemption and penance. And this is not a spoiler ladies and gentlemen, this is what's you'll predict to happen and this is what it will happen because it's all there, it's all too obvious to miss it out. Now, the story won't be that terrible if they wouldn't have appealed to any cliche used in the last 20 years in these kind of movies. Warrior has a pretty strong sentimental index and it really achieves by being emotional but the rest is so cheesed out that I could barely take it seriously. First of all these fighters won't get to fight in a tournament like this in real life in such a short period of time, so the plot becomes unreal, second of all, the characters are pretty one dimensional, and I could even say stereotypical. Just imagine that if the main characters are like this, how will the side characters look like? Third, the relationship development in between them is so unoriginal that I could call this a "mediocrity plagiarism". Fourth is that the fighters find themselves in the most predictable situation you can meet in the world of sports. The underdogs getting to the top and winning it all.Wow. Ain't that a heart-breaker. Bust most of all, I had serious issues even with the names used in this movie. They felt so cheap and "low-intelligence-budget". Sparta Tournament? Really? Koba the russian Fedor copycat? Really?

It's just wrong to mess up a movie like that. A movie that has one of the best performances of the year in Paddy Conlon by Nick Nolte. Such a strong and powerful performance that it really moved me. Definitely an oscar contender for the supporting role. Joel Edgerton was honest, kept things to himself and rally found a way to express his character's intentions appropiately. The biggest issues I have is with Tom Hardy's performance as the bad boy brother in this film. Not that his performance wasn't good but it was inconsistent on screen. It was like a roller-coaster. It started good, it went into a place of isolation and into an uncomfortable zone where he couldn't find himself and then he ended up being more than impressive. So I don't know what happened on the set but it surely was something since the quality of his performance dropped so much in the middle of the film.

The directing was pretty messy as well except for the fight scenes which were well coordinated. The cinematography was weak, the contrast and lightning were so poor and the editing was choppy as hell especially when it comes to the tournament training scenes of the two brothers. Director tried to offer multiple views by splitting screen in 3 or 4 videos of the two brothers sparing around and training and it didn't really worked out because the director doesn't highlight the important scene so you need to search it by paying attention to all the 4 scenes simultaneously which gives you a big headache. The score was a hit and miss. The first hour was caught me off guard with the terrible choice in music while the second part, especially the ending left me speechless because of the high level of emotions delivered. I also found the "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven not working in these conditions. I'm sorry but some songs don't quite work in certain environments. They feel too cheap and too much of a gimmick to start with.

In the end, Warrior delivers nothing of what I expected except the fighting scenes and the huge amount of heart. Everything else is a complete mess. This is the definition of a poor concept managed by a poor stylist. The definition of a cheap but good looking haircut. I laugh at those who said this movie was better than The Fighter just because it hit the emotional cord better. It's more depressing than laughable. It's more of a "let's do a MMA movies" than "let's do a solid fighter movie". Warrior is the biggest disappointment of the year, point blank, that knows nothing but how to beg for tears and how to receive accolades just for that.

Storyline/Dialogue: 6.5
Acting: 8.5
Technical Execution: 6.5
Replay Value: 7.5
Overall: 7.2

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December 02, 2011
I had hope for this but, never had a chance to see it. Now, I'm kinda thankful for that! I agree with you and I don't like movies that want me to do the work for them...I go to movies to lose myself, not to work! Great review.
December 03, 2011
December 02, 2011
This movie I really wanted to like; but I am not sure, something about it bugged me. I also thought that the fact that one brother was better written as a character than the other hampered the movie. All in all, this was a fun watch, but it just leaves a void a little empty....
December 03, 2011
More Warrior reviews
review by . September 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Two Brothers....Fighting For Family and Respect
The rise to popularity of Mixed Martial Arts have inspired several movies such as the mediocre “Never Back Down” and the below average “Fighting”. “RedBelt” was more about Jiu-Jitsu even though it had themes taken from MMA. Well, director Gavin O’Connor’s “Warrior” would remind us more about “The Fighter” and “The Wrestler”, while being wrapped around a family drama that focuses on sibling rivalry. The film is built …
review by . September 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Oooh and Aaahs rang out across the theater during almost every fight seen. The audience cheered and applauded during all the high points of the movie, and had I turned around I'm sure there would have been some grown men fighting to hold back the tears. The movie hits on all the right points and is an impressive piece of work.     The first thing you need to do as soon as you walk into the theater is suspend possibility over some of the events that take place. Suspend the fact …
review by . September 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         It’s only in part that Warrior hits all the predictable notes. Let’s face it, sports dramas all tend to be constructed the exact same way. It’s really a matter of the discordant notes, the ones that ring so falsely that they’re like sandpaper to the ears. Here is a movie that seems almost completely out of tune. It’s so unfocused and implausible that it suggests a total lack of faith on an audience’s intelligence. …
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Julian Left ()
Ranked #85
Member Since: Nov 4, 2010
Last Login: Mar 2, 2013 02:52 PM UTC
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About this movie



Movies, Sports, Drama, Mma, Review, Julian Left, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Warrior, Gavin Oconnor, Joel Edgerton, Kurt Angle


Director: Gavin O'Connor
Genre: Action, Drama
Release Date: 9 September 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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