The film Warrior is one of those movies that maybe you have heard of but has slipped quietly into the realm of forgotten movies. This is largely because it is seen by many as just another sports movie. However, the truth is when we look a little closer at some of the finer details in the movie we see just how great the movie is. The movie breaks new ground in its genre of film.
1.) Realistic Fighting
The problem with a lot of action packed movies are the fight scenes. Countless times in action movies we see fight scenes that seem incredibly staged and totally unbelievable, like in the movies Never Back Down or Supreme Champion, while no one wants completely authentic MMA fights where most of the matchups would end in points or a tapout Warrior does a fantastic job of making the fights interesting and fun to watch, whalst also keeping them from looking staged. Stephen Douglas a popular movie reviewer said himself “The MMA scenes are realistic”. This exception did not come without hard work though, Gavin O’Connor the film's director, who is also known for his movie Miracle, had the actors live the life of and work with real MMA fighters in order to prepare the actors for the fighting in the movie. As a direct result of this training done by the actors, and the use of real MMA fighters like Erik Apple and Kurt Angle the fight scenes come alive movie reviewer Stephen Douglas says “The MMA scenes are realistic”. Yes they are a little over dramatic but no one wants to go see a movie with tons of fighting only to see a bunch of uneventful fights ending in points just to try and look a little more realistic.
In a world where MMA movies are really few and far between it is hard to find one with great fight scenes. Warrior does a great job at capturing the ferocity and explosiveness of real MMA fights. The speed of the fights allows the director to portray what look to be real hits and holds that are actually used in MMA fighting. The fight scenes in this movie help to make it great as well as leaving its competitors flat on their backs.
Throughout the movie the father of the two brothers ,Paddy Conlon a recovering alcoholic, played by (Nick Nolte) is listening to the book Moby Dick. Many people wonder, why chose that book in particular? Is it even important? There is actually a lot of symbolism behind Paddy Conlon listening to this epic tale throughout the movie. Director Gavin O’Connor sheds a little light on this symbolism in an interview about his movie when he compares Paddy to the white whale, and the son Tommy, an ex marine gone AWOL, played by (Tom Hardy) to captain Ahab. Gavin says “For Tommy, the old man is the white whale… he calls tommy on it - he calls him Ahab.”
This little piece of symbolism, understood adds a whole new level of depth to the movie. The film is a work of art and to be able to understand it sometimes you need to go to the creator of the work, Gavin O’Connor leaves his symbolic use of the book Moby Dick open to interpretation as most artists would. However, with this insight the film reaches yet another level of depth, and with this being a fight film it is all that much more impressive and makes the movie that much more great.
3.) An Amazing Climax (spoilers)
From early in the movie we quickly learn that Brendan and Tommy the two brothers in the movie, played by (Joel Edgerton as Brendan and Tom Hardy as Tommy) will fight. The question then becomes who do we want to win. The answer to this question however is not one easily answered like in a lot of other fighting films such as Rocky. The reason being the two brothers fighting are fighting for very honorable reasons, and we have a harder time rooting for a winner. Instead we find ourselves hopping that neither brother will lose. Gavin O’Connor explains this very point in more detail in an interview with Drew McWeeny. The climax with Brendan putting his younger brother in his place for his own good however is perfectly powerful as we should expect from a great climax.
Because we are no longer wanting just one individual to win the fight, and want to see both brothers take home the prize money, there is a little bit of a new flavor in the fighting film industry. This new flavor is yet another condition that makes the movie Warrior great.
4.) An Ending to Remember (spoilers)
The ending of this movie is definitely among the better endings in sports movie history. Yes it is for the most part a predictable ending, but that is not the reason you stay to the end of the movie. This movie is more of a family drama, and as one reviewer on IMDB.com put it “The MMA contest is just a backdrop for the drama to unfold.” when we better understand that this film is more of a dram we can look at the ending a little different instead of winning and losing we look at the ending to the movie through the perspective of the brothers coming together after a lifetime of no communication and misunderstanding between one another. The same reviewer puts it this way, “It’s about Brendan showing Tommy that it is okay to lose because he’s not alone anymore.”
The kind of movie you are watching plays a big part on what makes it a good movie or a bad movie. You would not go see an horror movie expecting a romance, just like you would not go to a drama expecting action. Making sure not to take out the drama part of the action drama film genre you have an amazing movie that is Warrior. The movie is an action drama and with its ending fully lives up to its genre making it a great movie.
5.) An Open Ending (Spoilers)
There are a lot of people that talk about the ending of the movie, why is this? Well the ending of the movie is very open leaving a lot of room for personal interpretation as to what is going to happen now that the fighting is over. It is safe to believe that the brothers are once again on the same side moving in the same direction as the end of the movie shows them walking out of the arena in each other's arms, but now what? There are a lot of theories when it comes to the ending for example in a conversation on IMDB.com a writter says “Brendan seemed like an alright guy, I’m sure the whole family would be sharing in the wealth.”
We all love a movie that leaves us thinking about what could happen next. It is not done all that often in films like this one, nor should it be done all that often in films like this one. Because Warrior is able to do this so well however, it makes the movie that much greater.
In the end there are a lot of things that can make a movie hot or not. With the help of great fight scenes, deep symbolism, a crazy climax, an ending to remember, and a good open ending Warrior has become a great movie that is worth watching. This is not an easy thing for any film to do, but a whole movie dedicated to fighting that can do this is definitely a winner.