Unorthodox may sound good to label this movie. In fact it deserves more than that. A mixed of ‘fabulous’, ‘excellent’, ‘trembling’ and ‘poignant’ is a better one to describe the movie in a nutshell.
Warrior (2011) is a movie you’ll never seen. Unlike other boxing movies (such as the legendary Rocky for instance) I think this one depicts the best mix of ‘fighting’ and ‘feeling’. You’ll get aroused while watching the fighting scenes (thanks to my Audio-technica ATH AD300 for staying on my ears to listen to the beats) and you’ll get sympathized while watching the drama parts.
Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is a former boxer who for whatever reason had done something wrong in the past. The movie doesn’t provided much scene regarding his past. But for sure, he left his wife and 2 sons due to his alcoholic-related habit. Well, then the story says the mother died and Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) lived on different path. Tommy went to Corps where he was famously known to be a hero in battle in Iraq, while Brendan transformed to be a high-school physics teacher (despite the movie also says he fought in UFC previously).
The main plot began when Tommy came back to Paddy (I don’t know why his sons call him ‘Pop’) and he still seemed very upset for Paddy’s past misconduct. You’ll see the true heart of a father from the beginning of this scene. Paddy is so patient in dealing with Tommy’s cold behavior. Then Tommy attended a fighting gym and registered as its member. While the gym has its best fighter, Tommy asked him for a fight and the result is very surprising for the gym’s members. Since that fight, Tommy was regarded as the gym’s best fighter for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament called ‘Sparta’.
Far from the fierce fight, Brendan lived as a happy father with two lovely daughters. You’ll never expect him as a fighter given his career as physics teacher. His students love him as well. However, the happy life got troubled when the guys from bank asked him to pay for his house; otherwise they would foreclose it (I think it’s the remnant of 2008 financial crisis that hit United States). Given that financial problem along with the bank’s decision to not give him prolonged time to pay, he desperately attended a fight at a strip bar. The result was out of question; he won the game (he was former UFC fighter though) and was paid some amount of money.
Furthermore, Brendan knew that there was this upcoming MMA competition with a prize worth of $5 million, a sum of money he thought could solve his family’s problem. On the other part of the spectrum, Tommy also saw this as a good chance to obtain the money. For that reason he asked Paddy to be his personal trainer (Don’t think that he had forgiven Paddy– no, he remained cold as ever). You might ask, why would this cold Tommy want the money? You should watch the movie yourself to grab the answer.
So, how about the fight? I can tell you that it was really depicted so close. You can hear the sounds of the fight and this will deliver you with a sense of trembling as if you really want to join the fight. Although Tommy is plotted to be the ‘monster’ here, I enjoyed more the fighting scenes of Brendan. He’s really good at defending and grappling. While Tommy is shown to be a ‘quick’ fighter that always knocked down his opponents as fast as possible.
I really amazed with the way Nick Nolte painted his role as Paddy. There is this scene where he was really chided down to his heart by Tommy who told him to become beggar instead (I believe this is one of the best scene in the movie). But the best part of the movie lingers at the last battle between Tommy and Brendan (I thought Tommy will be the instant winner, but no, it is extremely an unpredictable battle of brothers). Deep inside the battle, you’ll find the true love of a brother. From brother with love. From warrior with love.