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DVD Review: Warrior (2011)

March 26, 2012

 

There’s something about sports movies that makes you willing to ignore the usual rules.  In fairness, you could say the same about sports in general.  When I’m at a football match, for example, I’ll happily scream abuse at people, swear at the top of my voice, or jump on strangers.  Normal rules just get thrown out of the window.  And so it is with Warrior.  Is the script good?  Well, no, not really.  Is it corny, sometimes laughably so?  Oh, yes.  Is it cartoonish in its character development?  Yes, yes, yes.  Who cares, though, when it’s also the most entertained I’ve been by a film in months, possibly even years?  Warrior is absolutely, unbelievably, ridiculously enjoyable.  It’s emotional, joyous, funny (not always intentionally so, admittedly), sad, beautiful, violent, and just plain brilliant.

Warrior is about two estranged brothers, both of whom find themselves competing in the world’s biggest MMA tournament.  They have made their way there individually, they each have compelling reasons for being there, and crucially, they are equally capable of gaining the viewer’s sympathy.  This is the masterstroke of Warrior.  While most sports films focus on one individual, or one team, for the audience to get behind, Warrior gives us two.  At least one of the characters must ultimately lose, thus removing that guarantee of a feel-good finish, while also providing the additional drama of a potential match-up between the two.  It’s a fantastic set-up, and one which is helped along massively by two excellent lead performances from Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.  Nick Nolte received the main plaudits, and award nominations, for his role as the pair’s alcoholic father, but it is the two younger actors who really stay in the memory.  The action is brutal, yet skillful, and it’s easy to get hooked into the tournament and forget that you’re actually watching a very well-put together piece of fiction.  Never mind sports films, Warrior is the epitome of what all sports should be: dramatic, involving and thoroughly entertaining.  I urge everyone to go out and see it as soon as possible.

*****

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