All I know about the 2011 movie Warrior is that my brother said it was a good movie that he said made people cry even if he didn’t. I looked up the trailer and found out that it was an MMA movie which only means one thing: that it’s about MMA or mixed martial arts. But Warrior is more than just an MMA movie- it’s a 2-hour long cliche infused with the MMA backdrop theme. Joel Edgerton plays Brendan, a physics teacher and former MMA fighter. When the folks at the bank tell him they’ll need to foreclose his house, he then becomes motivated to make some extra cash in order to escape from filing bankruptcy. He isn’t about to back down so he decides to go back to being a fighter to make an extra buck. Think John Q, The Wrestler, and Million Dollar Baby rolled into one, only the sport is MMA. Then enters a subplot about his long lost brother, Tommy (played by Tom Hardy), who, too, is a former MMA fighter and an ex-Marine haunted by his tragic past. He and his brother Brendan soon meet at Sparta, the Superbowl of MMA.
Nick Nolte plays Brendan’s dad and former trainer. Here, Nick Nolte is his Nick Nolte self (read rickety and sad). There is a dramatic scene where father and son (Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy) ensue their family drama which ends in Hardy throwing coins at Nolte. It was in this moment where I thought it’s sad seeing people onscreen being mean to their fathers, but it’s even sadder seeing people being mean to Nick Nolte. Anyway the point of my writing is that I enjoyed watching this movie albeit the closely shot fight sequences and cheesy split screen treatment for the training sequences.
The real point is that who cares if Warrior was a 2 hour long cliche? Everything else with a similar theme was. Joel Edgerton as Brendan is the hero I never expected and Tom Hardy was the tragic antagonist/protagonist I never thought was possible. We want to relate to our heroes in movies. The struggle was clear (a little too clear) and because of this, we saw that there truly is no heroism without failure risked or faced. Warrior isn’t a consistently good movie but that’s almost beside the point: the excitement is sustained by a brilliant idea (even if it’s “just an MMA movie”), a new variant on the classic theme of the underdog and his rise to glory.
Or maybe I just loved the use of the songs in the movie, ‘Start a War’ and ‘About Today’ by The National. What can I say, they’re my favorite band.