Monday, June 11, 2012

Warrior (PG-13/140 Min.)

I am so far behind on my posts. I apologize. I’ve apparently found the time to watch the movies but not the time to share them with you. This week will be my catch up (not Ketchup) week. I know you’re thrilled. And why wouldn’t you be?

I don’t know how but I completely missed this movie on the big screen. I’d even been waiting for it and it slipped right by me. I’m not even sure how good it did at the theater. I’m guessing not very since it wasn’t out long at all. I rented it on Netflix (I so heart Netflix) and now I want to own it.

For those of you who missed seeing it, Warrior is the story of two brothers who compete in Sparta, a competition designed to prove who is the best MMA (Mixed Martial Arts, for those of you who don’t know) fighter in the world. One brother is fighting to save his home. The other is fighting to be able to provide for the family of his fallen Marine brother-in-arms.

To say this movie started out slow is the understatement of the century. I never wanted to stop the DVD player but I was wishing they’d hurry things up a bit. Once the fighting starts though, Ooo boy! the pace definitely picks up. These guys don’t get the chance to heal the way I assume fighters usually do after each bout. This is a single elimination tourney spread out over two nights. There are 16 fighters so the last two in the cage will have fought four bouts in a little over 24 hours. Ouch! And then some!

Joel Edgerton plays the part of Brendan Conlon, a physics teacher whose house is about to be foreclosed upon. He’s determined that he, his wife and their two girls will be able to keep their home. I thought Joel did a great job as Brendan. He obviously loves the members of his family…all of them…even though he has a hard time trusting some of them. If you’ve seen this movie do you have any idea what caused the rift between Brendan and his dad because either they never told or I totally missed it. His dad did something really bad but I never caught the back story.

Tom Hardy plays the part of Tommy Riordan/Conlon. What? They couldn’t find American actors for this film? Joel is Australian and Tom is British. I don’t really mind though. They were both very easy to watch. But back to the movie. Tommy hates his dad because of how he treated his mom but makes him his trainer anyway because he’s good at it. Tom did a LOT of brooding in Warrior. I wish he’d been able to actually act more. Not that what he did was awful. I especially liked the hotel scene between him and his dad.

Nick Nolte plays their dad, Paddy Conlon. I’m not a huge Nick Nolte fan but I found myself feeling really sorry and cheering for his character. I so wanted him to come out on top. I was deeply disappointed in him during the hotel scene. I also wanted the whole family back together again. Did that happen? No idea. It never really says but in my mind it did.

Jennifer Morrison plays Brendan’s wife, Tess. She is fiercely protective of her family. Even to the point of turning her back on her husband because she can’t stand to see him hurt. Huh? How can she be protective and turn her back at the same time? Hey! Don’t judge! She had already done her stint in the hospital after Brendan had been badly beaten (this is only mentioned in the movie, not seen, so I’m not really ruining anything for you). It’s not like she was a military wife whose husband sacrifices life and limb sometimes daily in support of her and their country. No, she’s a fighter’s wife whose husband chooses to literally fight to earn money. She’s willing to lose their home if it means assuring his safety. I think I’m okay with that. My favorite scene with her is when she gets Brendan’s text. She didn’t really send him off on his own. She was there all along.

And now it’s time for the breakdown.

Sex/Nudity – None. Unless you count half-dressed men duking it out in a cage. The closest it gets other than that is Tess in a tank top and unders. Oh…and the scantily clad ring girls.

Drinking/Drugs – Yes to drinking. Alcoholism is an underlying theme throughout the film. And I guess yes to drugs but only in that Paddy makes Tommy hand some over.

Cussing – Yes. Quite a bit but they limit the big ones.

Violence – Well…yes. It’s a movie about MMA. There’s a bit of blood though not as much as I thought there’d be. No gore though. I did get to hear the sound of something in a fighter’s arm tearing or breaking. Eeeewwwww! I thought the same was going to happen to another fighter’s knee. It came close enough to obviously hurt.

If you like fight movies you should check this out. If you like feel-good sport movies it does eventually get around to that. I will admit that I was pretty certain one of the brothers was going to go all tender hearted and throw the fight. I am totally telling you now that this does not happen. I would also like to say that this has one of my new favorite movie endings ever. Not the all-time favorite but it’s definitely on the list.

Parents, I would suggest watching this before you let your kids see it. It did earn its PG-13 rating with the fight scenes alone. I happen to like MMA so the fights didn’t bother me as much as they might have otherwise. I do think that real MMA seems a lot bloodier but I could be wrong. It’s happened before. I think.

P.S. The DVD didn’t have anything after the credits. So there.

P.P.S. Not only was I wrong about a brother throwing the fight, I was also wrong about which brother got to fight the Russian fighter, Koba, a big hunk of a guy played by Kurt Angle. Either movie producers are getting smarter about not giving things away early in the movie (or not making them obvious in the trailers) or I'm losing my touch. I'm going with the former.

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