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Warrior (2011)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 174
Fresh: 144 | Rotten: 30

Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock -- and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.

83

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 7

Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock -- and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 53,455

My Rating

Movie Info

Haunted by a tragic past, ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years to enlist the help of his father (Nick Nolte) to train for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all event in mixed martial arts history. A former wrestling prodigy, Tommy blazes a path toward the championship while his brother, Brendan (Edgerton), an ex-fighter-turned teacher, returns to the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin. But when Brendan's unlikely, underdog

PG-13,

Drama, Action & Adventure

Anthony Tambakis

Dec 20, 2011

$13.7M

Lionsgate - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (174) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (144) | Rotten (30) | DVD (5)

This doesn't pack a punch like 'The Fighter' - but it's still a must for grapple fans.

September 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is so skillfully made, and the performances are so convincingly real (Hardy is sensational), that, as it reaches its cathartic, winning finish, it achieves a surprising compassion and honesty.

September 19, 2011 Full Review Source: New Yorker | Comments (3)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Warrior ends up feeling a lot bigger than you expect it to.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: NPR | Comments (6)
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's too corny to live. But the picture is a slam dunk. I mean a ground-and-pound double-leg takedown. It's really gripping.

September 11, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Magazine | Comments (2)
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Warrior's three principle characterizations are compelling - Nolte in particular gives a tempered performance as the shambling, sad-eyed wreck of a dad - but not enough to mask the film's lesser elements.

September 10, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (74)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The beats are familiar, the stakes are high, the fights are brutal, and the rewards are just.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Gavin O'Connor tries sprucing up the material by swapping out boxing for mixed martial arts, but it's still the same old story told the same old way. At least Real Steel had robots.

September 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Trespass
Trespass

The punches always seem that much harder when you understand just why they hurt.

June 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

A straight genre picture, but the best MMA movie ever.

January 9, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Tom and Brendan are enough to offer a satisfying payoff - even if minor characters are left flailing in their wake.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant
ScreenRant

Warrior reveals itself to be more than just a brainless slugger - like the best boxing movies, it's able to utterly wrap you up in the moment and have you punching the air come its conclusion.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: TheShiznit.co.uk
TheShiznit.co.uk

Warrior is one of the year's best films that has everything audiences are looking for in a sports movie experience. Visually exciting fight sequences are matched by an emotionally complex story with believable characters full of conviction.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

...an instant classic that manages to surpass even the original Rocky in terms of effectiveness...

June 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Familiar fight movie tropes are followed, but the dramatic stakes that O'Connor lends the proceedings give them uncommon involvement and an even rarer sense of suspense.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Warrior is an unbelievably effective film, not just because it's emotionally rich, but because it doesn't treat the MMA sport like a joke.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD | Comment (1)
IGN DVD

Trumping even genre classic Rocky, Warrior packs a grand emotional wallop thanks to top-tier performances and the fact that you don't want either fighter to lose.

January 25, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

One cannot genuinely fault Warrior for the clichéd elements of its story, simply because reviving the cliché is the whole point.

January 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

In Gavin O'Connor's hands ... the few-holds-barred matches are certainly the main event: subtle characterization and deep back-story are not wanted on this two-fisted voyage of the Conlon family.

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: JWR | Comments (16)

Not far removed from its true-to-life counterpart 'The Fighter,' 'Warrior' is about two men who decide to enter a mixed martial arts competition for two very different reasons.

December 22, 2011 Full Review Source: KWQC-TV (Iowa)
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

A sports movie about a martial arts tournament and an intimate drama about letting go of hatred and opening the heart to the healing balm of forgiveness.

December 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice | Comments (2)
Spirituality and Practice

A superb drama, and a remarkable sports film.

December 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Its most rewarding moments being the well-choreographed brutal MMA fight scenes.

December 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (3)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This tale of two brothers competing in a mixed martial arts contest is gritty, laboured and totally devoid of suspense or surprise, despite the best efforts of actors Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton.

November 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Screenwize | Comments (7)
Screenwize

Warrior makes a creditable attempt at expanding the scope of the MMA films - and whilst not always successful - the powerful performances should keep many people happy

November 19, 2011 Full Review Source: The Sabotage Times

Suddenly Thunderdome doesn't seem like such a pipe dream anymore.

November 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies | Comments (3)
Goatdog's Movies

Formulaic yes, but the best iteration of this formula in a very long time.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Moviedex
Moviedex

Audience Reviews for Warrior

Sports movies are tired. Have been for a while. You can see each beat coming and it all feels like a colour by numbers experience. Most of the time. Then there's Warrior.

Two brothers come together in the same Mixed Martial Arts competition for entirely different reasons to win the cash prize.

It's a pretty simple plot, and that really is it. But it's the way that such a simple story has an emotional kick like a horse which is really impressive. Each of these brothers is damaged in their own way and neither of them have really found a way to deal with the psychological distress their father has caused since the day they were born. As the movie unfolds, the extent of this damage becomes clearer and the relationship with their father more strained and defined. This emotional tension is ratcheted up notch by notch until it reaches breaking point, coincidentally at the same point that the action is at its climax. It's this beautiful choreography of emotional engagement and intense and furious action which puts this film above others of the same ilk. Gavin O'Connor's handling of these usually opposing forces is masterful; he maintains a familiar handheld style throughout proceedings but his restraint during purely dramatic moments shines through after the chaotic capturing of the action. He lingers on scenes in hotel bedrooms when a son comforts his father or when a husband makes difficult decision because it's reflective of their mindset. He blasts through the action because it's fast and brutal and over in fleeting glimpses. That being said, the fights and camerawork are choreographed so well that you're never straining to see what's going on. It's in capturing the feel of these situations with equal ease and control that O'Connor proves his mastery of the craft.

O'Connor's influence extends to the script as well. Being one of the principal writers on the film, he keeps the focus on these two brothers at the core of the story. Bringing the two of them together on a contrivance would feel like a cheat, but the way both brothers are entered into the contest feels natural and plausible, allowing the audience to maintain some illusion of reality throughout the film. Their status in the competition feels earned as well. Brendan (Edgerton) is almost a joke by the time he steps in the ring. We may be fans of his but the audience at Sparta are not. He's there after someone is forced out due to injury and he's never seen as more than a low level threat. Tommy (Hardy), on the other hand, is the contest's dark horse; a brutal, terrifying hulk who has no restraint and shows no mercy as he smacks down opponent after opponent. O'Connor is able to show us the two of these very separate characters with subtle character definitions and hints along the way, and eventually shows us the juxtaposition between the two; the contrasts, their strengths and most importantly, their weaknesses. Tommy is strong because of his anger. Brendan finds strength in the ones he's fighting for. Their climactic fight is not just a fight, it's brother vs brother with no real notion of who will actually win.

And these two brothers are played with quiet brilliance by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Hardy may now be known for playing Bane, but his performance is here is so impressive; restrained, dark and furious and completely believable that it's a crime he didn't gain his fame from Warrior. He's so powerfully withdrawn in quiet moments and understandably antagonistic in others, less understandably in others, but he plays it all with such conviction that it's astounding to see. The flip side of his coin is Edgerton who turns in an equally impressive performance as the more relatable Brendan. He doesn't have the haunted anger to play with as Hardy does, but his soulful, open performance makes him a pleasure to watch. When the two clash for the first time, meeting on a beach for a painful, angst-filled conversation, it's amazing to see the two of them finally sharing the screen. Spending most of their time apart during the film is a bold decision, but it pays off after seeing stunning duets like this one. But the film isn't sole property of these two. Nick Nolte plays their father, and his is a towering performance, full of regret and the pain of knowing the mistakes he's made and having his attempts to fix them rejected time and time again by his sons. His alcohol-fuelled breakdown is one of the more painfully beautiful moments of the film. His occasionally cloying attempts to reconnect clashes beautifully with Tom Hardy's stoicism and the two of them are wonderful together. Jennifer Morrison also has a part to play, as the life we have to hope for on Brendan's behalf. If she wasn't as charismatic as she is, our attachment to Brendan's cause wouldn't have the strength it needs to make a connection. Thankfully, she manages to maintain a realistic sense of their relationship as well as keeping up a level attraction and support for her husband that helps us to understand what he must be going through.

The music is not the main focus of the film, which is good because the original score is nothing special. Besides a few moments where Beethoven has been remixed into an action film score with great results, it's mostly stuff we've heard before. But the soundtrack is wonderful, with a great choice of sleepily beautiful acoustic based track with an amazing use of Today by The National in the final fight which adds a huge amount of emotion to a moment which is already supercharged with it.

Even though it's technically a sports movie, few of that genre have been put together as well as Warrior has. Gavin O'Connor's ability as both a writer and director shines through in every moment. Sure, it's great to see Tom Hardy pummel someone into unconscious with the self-assured savagery of a gladiator, but it's moments when we see Tommy sitting alone in his dressing room; cut off from any real connections, or Paddy's joy at barely glimpsing his grandchildren through a doorway that the film really shines.

Defining Scene:
Tommy and Brendan fight and The National starts playing. Cue the waterworks.
June 7, 2013
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

It`s a hard knockout with fist, feet and heart. A spectacular and heart-pounding action-packed drama. A masterpiece. Director, Gavin O`Connor crafts a wonderful, fierce and moving combination of stunning martial arts action and powerful drama. An incredible and deeply moving film. A true tour de force that`s a must-see. It has you standing up and cheering. A breathtaking and inspiring piece of work. This is one hell of a strong and unforgettable movie that pulls all the punches and then some. The characters are well drawn and the performances are convincing and gripping. A tremendously entertaining action-packed ride. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are electrifying, they give some impressive and heart-wrenching performances. Edgerton and Hardy give career making performances. Nick Nolte is superb, one of his best performances ever in this film. Their chemistry feels so real and hits all the right notes. Frank Grillo is outstanding. This movie grabs hold of you by the heart and dose not let go until the very end. For over two hours you will be held spellbound by this astonishing movie.
April 18, 2013
allan913

Super Reviewer

03/03/2013 (Online)
March 2, 2013
EightThirty

Super Reviewer

A great, engrossing film. Picked a good cast for it to, a real mix of Rocky & The Wrestler combined along with some awesome fights.
September 13, 2012
Deano78

Super Reviewer

    1. Tommy Conlon: I like what you've done with the place.There's not much of a woman's touch around here.
    2. Paddy Conlon: Yeah, well, no more women for me, Tommy.
    3. Tommy Conlon: Yeah, it must be hard to find a girl who can take a punch nowadays.
    – Submitted by Jeff R (8 months ago)
    1. Paddy Conlon: Ahab! You Godless sonofabitch! You stop the ship, you Godless sonofabitch!
    – Submitted by Hari A (8 months ago)
    1. Frank Campana: You don't knock him out. You don't have a home.
    – Submitted by Tareq J (12 months ago)
    1. Tommy Conlon: Tiptoeing around here like a beggar with your little cup.
    – Submitted by Miguel V (13 months ago)
    1. Paddy Conlon: Come on, kiddo. I've been there. I've done it. I've seen it. You can trust me. I'll understand.
    2. Tommy Conlon: Spare me the compassionate father routine, Pop. The suit don't fit.
    3. Paddy Conlon: I'm really trying here, Tommy.
    4. Tommy Conlon: You're trying? Now? Where were you when it mattered? I needed this guy back when I was a kid. I don't need you now. It's too late now. Everything's already happened. You and Brendan don't seem to understand that. Let me explain something to you: the only thing I have in common with Brendan Conlon is that we have absolutely no use for you.
    – Submitted by Miguel V (13 months ago)
    1. Brendan Conlon: God, man, I don't understand this. You won't forgive me, but you'll forgive Pop?
    2. Tommy Conlon: Shit. He's just some old vet I train with. He means nothing to me. From what I hear he means nothing to you, either, so you got balls talking about forgiveness.
    – Submitted by Miguel V (13 months ago)
View all quotes (31)

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