Warrior delivers exactly what you expect, but it still succeeds keeping you on the edge of your seat for close to an hour of the film. There are three reasons for this: the fantastic atmosphere and mise en scene of the MMA tournament, the fight scenes are incredibly intense and the fact that the audience within and outside the film are conflicted as to whom to route for. It is refreshing to see that, if only the WWE could follow suit in their storyline because the whole heel/babyface type cast decreases the level of competition from the audiences' point of view.
The first half of the film is basic enough and pretty mundane compared to last years The Fighter, which was shot with more style and technique, along with lively characters and humorous scenarios. Another fight movie involving brothers, but this time they actually go against each other in combat. Tommy (Tom Hardy) acts all mysterio here when he returns home to his father (Nick Nolte) after serving as a marine in the Middle-East. He decides he wants to fight and enter the MMA tournament to win the grand prize of $5 million. He wants his father, who was an abusive drunk throughout his childhood to train him formally. The father, Paddy, has been sober for 1,000 days and wants to make amends. Tommy isn't interested, cut off from all human emotion and basically a fighting machine. The human side is delivered to us by the brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a science teacher, family man about to lose his house and suspended because of fighting for money on the weekend. He returns to his old trainer and by technicality is placed in the tournament.
It is not until the tournament in Atlantic City that the excitement and atmosphere really begins. The build up and anticipation is brilliantly portrayed by Gavin O'Connor from then on. The brothers meet on the beach in A.C. and Tommy remains cold, not recognizing Brendan as his brother. It is revealed soon after that Tommy is in fact a war hero (how good is this guy?) Paddy continues to try and connect with Tommy until one devastating scene where he is rejected and degraded by his son. The show must go on.
The tournament proceeds with extremely enthralling bouts that could inspire the skinniest, nerdiest, Amish boy to join the UFC. Another great factor in this movie is the support from the fighters' trainers, family, friends and in Brendan's case the student body. You get so tied up in the tournament that you forget that this is a film and feel like you are experiencing sport. The climax is quite rushed and corny, but it can be forgiven due to the sheer exhilaration of the bouts because the fact is that we don't really care about the exterior of the fighting cage, the film belongs in there.