Warrior

Gavin O'Connor's Warrior is not a great film but it is a truly fine picture that strikes all the right chords and has an indominatable spirit at its core, much like its numerous pugilistic predecessors (from Stallone's Rocky to Russell's The Fighter). Yes, it's a stand-up cheer kind of affair but it's also thoughtful and poignant. The story is set in the crazy world of high stakes mixed martial arts caged competitions (of which I'm blissfully unfamilar) and revolves around the fractured relationship between two estranged brothers (the beefcake pinup duo of Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) and their formerly alcoholic father (a terrific Nick Nolte). Needless to say, bitterness and regret fuels a lot of the fighting -- in and out of the ring. All three of the leads are fine as is Jennifer Morrison (House's Dr.Cameron), who plays the anxious but supportive wife of Edgerton's character. The film tracks the brother and their opponents as they move toward the predictable but tremendously entertaining last act in Atlantic City. O'Connor masterfully builds into the middle of the picture a split-screen montage of separate storylines as the brothers train for the $5,000,000 tourney. It's a super piece of film editing. Interestingly, and commendably, for a truly engagng film about fighting there's precious little blood spilled in Warrior.

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