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Posted on July 24, 2015 by James Shults

Release Date: September 9, 2011

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Overall Rating: Good

Two brothers, both in dire circumstances, train for an MMA championship tournament.

The Good

Forget about this being an MMA movie. It’s much more. Warrior is drama. Fierce drama. While it does take place in the world of MMA, it could take place anywhere. This could as easily be a civil war period film. It isn’t. But it’s just as compelling. At it’s core, it has the same emotional resonance. Everything is on the line for everyone involved.

The Bad

Like every sports movie ever, Warrior doesn’t forego a montage. During the montage, we learn about a mysterious, unbeatable Russian MMA fighter through news reports while we watch the brothers endlessly train. It’s a strange, cliched trope to see played out in a movie that seems above it. The only difference between this montage and every other one? This one has Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. That’s new.

The Ugly

Warrior doesn’t take any chance with letting it’s audience know that these brothers are underdogs. One of the brothers, Brendan, played by Joel Edgerton, meets a cliched banker, a heartless money manager who won’t help. Then there’s his wife who disapproves of his fighting, even though times are dire. Bankers may sometimes be heartless but they are never glib with their clients. Wives aren’t so precious about what their husbands will do to ensure their family’s well being. It’s easy to see the underdog the movie is setting up for us.

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