"Warrior"

I was curious to see Warrior, because friends of mine had seen screenings of it previously and had raved about it. It ended up being an interesting movie that had complex characters, or, as another reviewer says (to paraphrase), "a family drama disguised as an MMA fighting movie."

Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy, "Inception") took off with his mom as a teen because his father (Nick Nolte, "Arthur") was a heavy drinker, leaving behind his brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton, "Animal Kingdom"). Now Tommy's back, and he wants to enter the Sparta MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting competition, a "winner take all" tournament for the huge prize of $5 million. What he doesn't know is that his brother, now a high school physics teacher, has entered the competition as well, and badly needs the money; his house is in danger of being foreclosed upon soon, and without the money he and his family will have to move out. Brendan used to be a UFC fighter and Tommy used to box/wrestle in high school, and they both make it to the top 16 of the tournament.

I definitely called part of the ending before the movie even started (not going to say what - no spoilers here), but it was still interesting to see how the movie got to that part. Hardy and Edgerton are great as the brothers that have a love/hate relationship, with their only connection other than blood being that they hate their father (Nolte) for drinking so much during their childhood. Jennifer Morrison (TV's "House") plays Brendan's wife, who doesn't want to see him get hurt but at the same time can admit that they need the money his fighting brings in. Kevin Dunn ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon") has a funny role as the principal at Brendan's school, too. Both the supporting cast and the main actors help to make this movie great.

Yes, see this film. The first half was okay but it is the second where the story really starts to pick up, and the complex relationships between the characters are defined. Much like the movie The Fighter, it's not just the "warrior" himself that is affected by his fighting, it is his whole family, and the connections in Warrior are played out beautifully here.

Warrior is in theaters today, September 9th, and is rated R with a runtime of 118 minutes.

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