Warrior 2011 ★★★★

On paper it sounded terrible and in truth the director didn’t instill a great deal of confidence either, but despite it hitting all the familiar story beats for this type of film I found it a moving and exhilarating experience. Warrior plays out exactly how you expect it to but this can be said about practically every fight film ever made. The inevitability and the triumph over insurmountable odds is one of the great cinematic treats the ‘genre’ has to offer and Warrior does this final showdown better than most.

Moving the action from the boxing ring to the MMA cage works wonders. Bar the indifferent Redbelt there really haven’t been too many cage based movies of note and Warrior is certainly head and shoulders above the competition. The performances across the board are excellent with each of the central characters being believable, damaged and compelling presences. Thankfully a lot of the family backstory is kept vague enough so it doesn’t overpower the film and they manage to juggle the two brother’s stories effectively without one overshadowing the other. The direction is assured, delivering the emotion required in the character scenes and the visceral energy in the fight sequences. At its best, such as during the films climax, they manage to both move and excite the audience delivering the final hit the film deserves.

Of course the film is undeniably silly, far fetched and occasionally cheesy but Gavin O’Connor and all involved still make you buy into the events and the people on screen so any questions of believability become irrelevant.

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