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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 October 2011
There is a saying that "there are no new stories" and this is a case in point. As other reviews have pointed out the struggling under dog, two battling brothers, "father issues" and the one last chance to get what you want does mean that this could be the UFC Cinderella Man or coming out in the same year even a bit like the autumn version of The Fighter.

However if you accept that all films have a passing similarity to at least something that's gone before then this is a highly polished example of a familiar tale, it is further enhanced by an excellent script and brilliant acting, Tom Hardy in the space of a year has been the wise cracking forger in Inception, the skittish English spy in Tinker, Tailor and now the huge and powerful ex US Marine Tommy in the warrior, it's hard to believe it's the same guy in all 3 films and yet is completely believable playing these very different characters. Dare I say it, could he be this generation's De Niro? However the role of the now sober alcoholic and abusive dad was written for Nick Nolte and a bit like the character he's portraying Nick knows this could be a last hurrah and grabs onto the role with both hands giving a performance that is a master class in understated acting (surely a best supporting actor nomination in the Oscars?). Then Joel Edgerton plays the most likeable of the central trio as the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts- don't call them cage fighters!) fighter who after getting badly hurt turned to teaching, but now has to step back into the ring. He may not have the power house moments of the other 2 but he's the easiest character to root for as it's simply win fights or lose his house and as he has a wife and 2 small kids it's an emotional resonance perfect for the current domestic anxieties across the globe.

Indeed like the first Rocky this is a film very much of it's time- recession, foreign war, war widows are the current sign of the times and adds a level of reality to what isn't a true a story but in the future you will just know this has to be set around 2011. However the main thing to add spice to this impressively grown up mixture is this is an MMA sports film not a boxing film and that's an important difference, having only ever seen 1 UFC fight on TV I was not ready for the electrifying fights. We've all seen enough boxing in films to know the basic moves even if you aren't a fight fan, however here almost anything goes, so you go from familiar exchanges of punches to powerful kicks, to the gasps that will come out of you when somebody gets thrown to the floor, to being up close and personal in the horrifyingly intimate grapples. There's simply more for a film maker to show then just above the belt punches and blocks. This is what makes the quest of the central characters even more frantic and even a little tragic- these are desperate men indeed.

A must see film that didn't make a huge wave under initial cinema release, possibly because the topic wasn't the more familiar boxing, possibly because there were no big names either in front of or behind the camera but this film needs to get a bigger audience and hopefully here on DVD/BluRay that discovery will start.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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on 18 January 2012
I love Gavin O' Connor films, this guys directs and writes this stunning, moving and brutal family sports drama and he blends all together a good sports movie and a moving drama together so well, just like he did with his police drama "Pride and Glory". Tom Hardy is the next big thing, this guy is going places and I can't wait to see his performance in Batman next year.

But as for this, he is truly outstanding, this is without a doubt Tom Hardy second best peformance in his career (first being Inception) and he is really worthy of a Oscar win or nomination for his portrayal of "Tommy", the role is almost silent role, he has speaking roles but this role requires parts of the emotion to feed through facial expressions, etc and Tom pulls a hard punch. The Best Supporting Actor award for this year so far is going to Nick Nolte who portrays the father "Paddy", he portrays such strong emotion that is hard not to be moved, when we see him in a particular scene in a hotel room drunk, we know that part is coming at some point and when it does, its breathtaking.

When he begins walking over to "Tommy" at the door, it can be portrayed a a frightening thing, because of his past and how he is acting. It's such a strong and emotionally driven role and he hits it right on the nail.Joel Edgerton portrays "Brendan" a family man who is at the end of a rope to support his family, I have to say whilst Joel gives a good performance as a man at his wits end and is desperate, Joel's performance is the weakess in the film, I'm not saying he is terrible, hell no, he has some cracking scenes such as the end fight and his confrontation of his father on the front lawn.

But the thing Joel's performance lacks is emotion. He gets the desperation and troubled life right but he lacks the emotional grip that is required for the role. But the film in general is outstanding and even though its been disapointing at the box office it's a strong film that is deserves recognition at the Academy Awards 2012.
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on 29 February 2012
I know nothing about MMA or UFC but...

...putting aside the mawkish cliché, which this film has a streak of a mile thick, its hard to say a bad thing about it. However, this is less "all the Rocky's rolled into one" than The Wrestler with less subtle character arcs.

It has a trio of very fine performances, from Hardy's brutish, emotionally wounded war vet, to Edgerton's all round dignified good egg, and Nolte's guilt ridden father who is trying to repair his life and atone his sins.

The fight scenes are frenetic and well shot, with convincing bruising action.

Come the end i and the g/f were both very emotionally engaged in the whole affair and im not ashamed to admit on a couple of occasions the drama was genuinely upsetting and uplifting.

Highly recommended.
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on 4 July 2014
I watched this last night for the second time and still ended up in tears. There are two parts in this movie that just have me floored, its quite impressive because usually I can remain composed. One scene in particular I simply had no choice, I started crying harder then I have in a long time. it was just so sad.

This is a fantastic movie about two brothers (both have their own private issues going on through the movie) who both enter the MMA SPARTA tournament. I found the movie really entertaining and sometimes nail biting during some of the fights. I didn't know who was going to win for ANY of the fights and that is a plus for me. Even when I did know who was going to win the second viewing I was still tense. The ending is a bit predictable but they still kick your ass with it. The music just had me in bits by the time it came on, tears all over my face. Awesome.

I will give this movie full stars. I am so impressed that it managed to get me to cry like that with such a simple scene between father and son. it taps you in the head in the previous casino scene and then punches you HARD in the chest after.

all actors are astounding in their roles but I really loved Tommy's character, though he was a little s**t for most of it. The pure rage and anger you feel just by looking at his face and when he fights is something to behold. This guy is such a great actor and actually frightened me a bit. I noticed during fights that he wont look anyone in the eye but one person.

I would certainly recommend this movie to ANYONE over 15 years. This is not a movie about boxing (I thought it was from the cover), this is MMA, UFS TAPOUT territory. Im not a huge fan of the sport but il sit and watch it if it's on. This movie was a great tribute to the sport I think. There is bonus material that is very interesting. This movie was dedicated to Charles "mask" Lewis who seemed to be a huge figure in this sport for his wonderful spirit and wisdom. The documentary and interviews with him and his mates are really great. It brought tears to my eyes and made me want to do more with my life.

I'm not going to go on anymore...trust me just buy this dvd is fantastic. Full stars.
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on 29 May 2013
Great film, much better storyline than imagined and watching Tom Hardy looking so hot in a pair of shorts is every girls dream isn't it......
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on 18 February 2012
Quite simply the best films of 2011. The best MMA film to date with powerhouse performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton & Nick Nolte (the latter surely deserved an Oscar nomination).
The only let down as far as the Blu-Ray is concerned is the picture. Right from the off there is significant grain to be seen which comes and goes throughout the entire film. At one point i had to eject the disc to check if i had the DVD copy in and not the Blu-Ray, unfortunately i hadn't. The sound and special features are great but the best film of last year deserved a lot better. Still 5 stars.
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on 2 June 2012
I found this to be quite a good film, and it's rated 4 stars by the Radio Times (to me that means "good to watch and engrossing"). For once, the blurb on the cover is right... it really is like "all the Rockys rolled into one"! It's tough. Good acting too.
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on 29 January 2012
I went to see this film on its opening night in New York and it goes right up there as one my favourite films ever! Honestly this film for me is the best film of 2011 its something different to your average fight film they're not fighting for the attention of the attractive girl their doing it to turn their own lives around which makes the story all the more gripping.

Joel Edgerton's character in the film is fantastic as he wants to give his kids the upbringing he never had, Tom Hardy is just a legend that's the best way to descirbe this dude in the film & as for the father figure really good character he plays him well as he wants to win the respect of sons back.

The fight scenes are just amazing & portrays the world of MMA fighting right down to a tee. every punch, kick & take down looks exactly how it does when you go to a real MMA event. All in all this film makes Never Back Down (one of my favourite films ever) look like a playground scrap. buy it, rent it whatever you have to watch it.
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on 10 March 2014
This film is about more than MMA (if it was about just that, I would not have enjoyed it as much). It's also about the complicated relationship between two brothers and their respective strained relationship with their father. Although it isn't explored in great depth in the film, Tommy is the more damaged of the brothers, following a friendly fire incident in his time in the Marines, of which he was the only survivor. His refusal to speak about it has me thinking he suffers from PTSD as many ex-servicemen do, and the fighting is his outlet. This makes him the more complicated of the brothers, more bitter at being left to care for their dying mother and just generally pissed of at his family and his life.
Aside from the back story though, the fight scenes are amazing and Tom Hardy transformed himself physically for this role, which is amazing dedication and certainly paid off. I cannot think of a single role that Tom could not take on and execute perfectly, he is an actor who deserves a lot more recognition. Nick Nolte is great too as the guilt-ridden father trying to be there for both his sons, unfortunately probably too little, too late in their eyes.
If you like MMA, watch it, if you like a drama that is thought provoking and quite sad in places, watch it...and if, like me, you just like looking at Tom Hardy in just a pair of shorts...definitely watch it because damn he is gorgeous.
It wont disappoint it's a great film.
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on 30 August 2015
Warrior is a poweful and intimate family drama, with still not famous stars at that time, yet already very promosing. The values of this film are in the right casting and the dry, essential style where there is no big emphasys or easy melodrama, or not even too many sport cliché. It is a very honest film, all based on acting, dialogues and a balanced direction that keep the focus on characters' personalities rather than on spectacular sequences or common sport topics (even competition and sacrifice are not depicted in the usual american way)
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