“Warrior” is a movie about two estranged brothers on opposite sides of Pennsylvania who fight in an MMA competition.I have no recollection of it coming out in the fall of 2011, and the fact that it’s available to stream on Netflix (exactly zero new popular movies are on streaming) tells you that it’s a pretty under the radar movie.
But it’s great. I haven’t liked a sports movie this much since “The Wrestler” in 2008. You should watch it.
What’s remarkable about this movie is its ambitiousness.
It tries to marry two distinct styles of sports movies, 1) the gritty style of something like “The Wrestler” or the short-lived TV show Luck, and 2) the grand soft-focus style of something like “Rocky” or any traditional, big-budget sports movie.
“Warrior” moves back and forth between these two styles. You’ll get a scene of long, mumble-y dialogue to map out the emotional dimensions of the characters, followed by a training montage that’s straight out of “Rudy.”
As a result the movie more or less gets away with every indulgent sports-movie cliche in the book.
There’s a lot more to like:
The acting is great. Tom Hardy is in it, and Tom Hardy is awesome. Nick Nolte is also good as he growls his way through a performance as the two brothers’ father.
It gets all the little things right. The little touches in this movie are great. The MMA stuff is accurate and they refuse to dumb it down in any way. The high school kids talk like high school kids.The fighters look, talk, and walk like fighters.
It’s good. Watch it if you have Netflix.
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