Rewatched Aug 30, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
“I Love You! I Love You Tommy!”
-Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton)
Dada duh…dada duh…dada duh…dada duh…dada duh duh duhda…
Gonna fly now…
No! No! This is not Rocky. Not at all. (Who am I kidding, it’s just Rocky with Tom and Joel!) No. It’s definitely not Rocky.
Do you know what? I’d actually say I preferred this to Rocky (Preparing myself for a beating right now). I won’t claim it’s a better film, but as to which I’d rather watch, it’d be Warrior. Maybe because I don’t really like Stallone. Or maybe because Tom Hardy’s my new hero beside Bill Murray. I don’t know.
What I do know, however, is that Warrior is an excellent film, the new Rocky for the modern generation. Okay that’s enough talk of Rocky, I vow to never again mention it within this review.
From director Gavin O’Connor, Warrior follows a young boxer whom is trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament, only to be pitted against his older brother. That’s just about all there is to the plot. I’ll admit, I didn’t have high hopes for this one on its release. The story is predictable and has been done before many a time, like that other boxing film with Sylvester Stallone in. But what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in something far more genuine; real heart. Behind the fights is the wonderfully sincere tale of two brothers and their father, all damaged by their past.
Joel Edgerton takes up one half of the Conlon duo as older brother Brendan, a physics teacher and family man, whom was once a fighter before. Joel offers a fantastically restrained act as the amiable everyman. Since he seems unable to deliver a bad performance, Tom Hardy is on his usual spectacular form here as protagonist Brendan’s younger brother Tommy. He looks and feels almost as terrifying as Bane or Bronson,
By the time it reaches that inevitable final showdown, you’re not entirely sure who to root for. They are, at this point, so well developed that you feel like you know them, they feel so human they could actually exist. I felt real sympathy for both, so that there is as much emotional punch as there are real punches when it comes to its exhilarating conclusion.
The supporting cast are excellent, with Nick Nolte delivering an equally worthy performance to the leads as their father Paddy and Jennifer Morrison shining as Brendan’s wife Tess. One scene in the casino really got to me, as Hardy’s Tommy tells Nolte how useless he is and you can almost see a tear in his eye. That was rather heart-breaking.
Despite being over two hours in length, the film is paced nicely and never really seems to drag. O’Connor directs with a steady hand, and the script borne from the collaboration with Tambakis and Dorfman is compelling and believable throughout. It’s shot very admirably and the score is good too. The fight sequences are scarily realistic and incredibly engrossing, whilst the ending is just magnificent.
My only gripe would be that it is fairly predictable, as you do have an idea of where it’s going from the start. Really though, it’s just minor issues. Overall, Warrior is a terrific film with brilliant action but real soul at its centre, and one I would rank amongst greats such as Raging Bull, The Fighter, and yes, Rocky.
VERDICT; Warrior is blunt, frank and downright honest through and through, but is undeniably powerful and surprisingly heartfelt.
4/5 or 8/10