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Warrior

Year: 2011
Production Co: Mimran Schur Pictures
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writer: Gavin O'Connor/Anthony Tambakis
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Kevin Dunn

This film had good dramatic buzz but I found it a bit of a poor man's The Fighter with its theme of family discord amid the world of professional fighting.

Brothers Brendan (Edgerton, in Hollywood arrival mode after this film and The Thing) and Tommy (Hardy) are estranged because of a family argument that's never really specified, but includes their grizzled, back-on-the-wagon Dad (Nolte).

Tommy's an Iraq war vet who turns out to have gone AWOL after saving the lives of comrades, and Brendan is a schoolteacher and former cage fighter struggling to make ends meet.

By chance they end up in the same UFC tournament, which the prickly Tommy's asked his Dad to train for and which Brendan enters to get his loving family out of financial trouble. It's not too big a surprise to find they end up facing each other, their climactic fight a metaphor for their relationship.

It's very hard for fight movies not to fall into the shadow of Rocky and this one does too. I also found the rhythm a little predictable and the script wants to be more concerned with the family dynamics to make the film more dramatically worthy. Instead the fight scenes – particularly at the end – leave you with more a sense that it's just been a good time fight movie of dudes kicking hell out of each other.

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