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Warrior 2011 Lionsgate filmWith back to school, it’s time for the theaters to step their game up heavily, and they just might have done that with Warrior Warrior, written and directed by Gavin O’Connor, is worth checking out and is even worth seeing twice. The film revolves around two brothers, Tom Hardy as Tom Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon, and Nick Nolte, who plays the father Paddy Conlon. It is based in Philadelphia where the brothers ultimately fight each at an MMA tournament to win a few million dollars; make it rain trick.

Warrior started in a cliché fashion, a mysterious but well-built character picks a venomous fight with his father for abandonment. From there, we meet the other brother, who is a teacher struggling to pay the family’s bills. Wait, it gets better, he starts fighting again for extra money to cover family costs, but lies to his wife about it, yawn.  As you can see at this point, I was nervous on how exciting the viewing would be, luckily there was a turn of events.

Watching the movie, you’re just trying to understand why the brothers are bitter with one another. You also want to find out why Tom Colon felt abandoned as a kid by his brother and dad. Without the backstory you’re watching with a flashlight trying to piece together the puzzle from the angry conversations that come up. Since you are in control of discovering what went wrong in the past, it’s fun to play detective to understand the broken home as much as possible.

The film’s best moments come from when the three main characters interact. When it comes to the fight, you grip your seat debating on which brother deserves to win the tournament more than the other.

Additionally, a friend brought to my attention that  Warrior is an attempt to become a modern-day Rocky. There are similarities between the two: broken family, winning champ (Hardy) stops fighting and suddenly wants to re-enter the ring, pleading wife begs Edgerton’s character to not return to fighting, etc. What we can pick up mostly, is the story of the underdog, and who will come back with the biggest bang. Whether this film turns into a franchise will be an interesting feat, as it ended with a winner. But the family issues were resovled, almost perfectly.

For family drama and for an introduction to MMA fighting, you definitely want to see this, and Warrior makes for a great compromise for your evening date. There is fighting, lots of fighting and suspense, and there is love. Although the family is broken, you clearly see the agony the men have trying to be expressive. A win for both sexes, right?

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