Warrior is a 2011 American action-drama film starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte. It is the story of two estranged brothers entering a mixed martial arts tournament, and deals with the brothers' struggling relationship with each other and with their father.
Direction : Gavin O'Connor
Produced by : Gavin O'Connor, Greg O'Connor
Screenplay by : Gavin O'Connor, Cliff Dorfman, Anthony Tambakis
Story by : Gavin O'Connor, Cliff Dorfman
Starring : Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Nick Nolte
Oroginal Music by : Mark Isham
Cinematography : Masanobu Takayanagi
Editing by : Sean Albertson, Matt Chesse, John Gilroy, Aaron Marshall
Studio : Mimran Schur Pictures, Filmtribe, Solaris Entertainment
Distributed by : Lionsgate
Release date : 9 September 2011
Plot Summary :
The film begins with Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) visiting his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), a recovering alcoholic who has become a Christian. Tommy becomes angry about his father's formerly abusive behavior, and Paddy fails to convince him that he has truly changed. The next day, Tommy enters a gym where he beats a professional fighter named Pete "Mad Dog" Grimes (Erik Apple) unconscious in less than a minute, in a fight which is filmed via a flip video camera and later uploaded to the Internet where it goes viral. Tommy asks his father to help him train for a winner-takes-all mixed martial arts tournament called Sparta, but only under the condition that they do not try to reconcile their relationship. It is later explained that Tommy enters the tournament in order to give the money he hopes to win to the widow and son of his fallen friend in the Marine Corps.
Meanwhile, Paddy's older son, Brendan Conlon (Edgerton), a high school physics teacher and former UFC fighter, is struggling to financially provide for his wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison) and two daughters, and faces the possibility of his home getting foreclosed if he does not pay the bank in three months. Despite he and Tess working a total of three jobs between the two of them, Brendan risks returning to his former profession as a mixed martial arts fighter battling amateur fighters for money in order to pay the bank in time. Rumors of Brendan fighting in the ring begin spreading amongst his students, and the school, objecting to his participation in such dangerous activities, suspends him without pay. Left with no other option, Brendan seeks the training of old friend Frank Campana (Frank Grillo) and begins competing in smaller venue fights for money. After the fighter he planned to enter into the Sparta tournament is injured during training, Brendan convinces Frank to enter him as a replacement.
Paddy visits Brendan during this time to inform him that Tommy has returned home and in order to reconcile with his son, which he is unable to do. Brendan says he forgives Paddy for all the wrong he has done to him in the past, but that he still does not trust him. And later, after entering the tournament, Brendan discovers that Tommy has also entered. When Brendan confronts Tommy for the first time in several years, it is explained that Brendan chose to stay with his father and then-girlfriend Tess when he was sixteen years old instead of living with Tommy and their mother, who later grew ill and died. Tommy says that he refuses to forgive Brendan for this and leaves.
Meanwhile, the video of Tommy beating Mad Dog attracts the attention of a Marine in Iraq whose life was saved by Tommy months prior. The information and video of Tommy saving the Marine is shared with the press and Tommy becomes a national hero, gaining a massive fan base with not only viewers, but with the U.S. Marine Corps as well. Paddy tells Tommy that he is proud of him for saving the Marine's life, but Tommy gets so furious at his father that Paddy has a relapse and becomes drunk the next day. Tommy comforts Paddy and the two finally make peace with one another. However, things turn around when Tommy's records surface from the Marine Corps and reveal that he took absence without leave from the military after he was nearly killed by friendly fire. It is explained that Tommy took his mother's maiden name, Riordan, as his own surname in order to evade arrest for his desertion, and that police will take him into custody after the tournament is over.
Over the next few nights, Brendan and Tommy have contrasting fortunes. Tommy violently and quickly pulverizes his three hapless opponents, the third being Mad Dog, whom he disposes of within seconds. Following each victory he angrily storms out of the cage and ignores the winner's announcement. Brendan has by comparison a much tougher time, particularly in the semi final where he has to face Koba, a monstrous undefeated Russian champion. He wins his first two bouts with clever Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but in the third he is punished severely for the entirety of the first two rounds. In the third he mounts a valiant and spirited attack against his superior opponent and eventually surprises Koba with a kneebar and holds on for dear life. Koba eventually submits and Brendan shocks the world of mixed martial arts. At the end, both brothers come face-to-face with each other in final round and unleash all anger they had towards each other. The fight between the two brothers shows Tommy having the upper hand initially, taking down Brendan and punishing him with some ground-and-pound, but in the third round, the tides turn as Brendan catches Tommy with an omoplata armlock. Brendan manages to dislocate Tommy's shoulder, leaving Tommy handicapped. Brendan pleads to his brother to stop fighting, but Tommy continues to fight with one arm. In the next round Brendan traps the injured Tommy in a rear naked choke. While they both lie struggling on the mat, Brendan tearfully apologizes to Tommy and tells him that he loves him, and after a brief hesitation, Tommy taps out. The film ends with the two brothers exiting the ring, Tommy in tears with Brendan's arms around him, as their father watches them and smiles.
Reception : The film got positive reviews from critics and audience with 8.3 in IMDB rating and in Rotten Tomatoes 83% fresh rating.