Warrior opened in theatres this weekend and is the first martial arts movie to hit the big screen in awhile. The movie pits two brothers against one another in a fight to save their dysfunctional family.
Tommy Riordan, the younger brother, has just returned home as a military hero. He convinces his recovering alcoholic and former coach father to train him for the largest mixed martial arts tournament known thus far. His estranged older brother, Brendan, who also used to be a mixed martial arts fighter, is struggling to have a "normal" life without fighting. In this tough economic time, his teaching job just isn't paying the bills. He returns to the ring despite the pleas from his wife. Winning this large tournament is his ticket to economic recovery.
As predictable with a storyline such as this, the movie climaxes with the two brothers facing off in the ring for the championship. What makes this movie outstanding is how well the raw emotions of each character are weaved into the storyline. While watching this movie, you find yourself cheering and wishing for the best for many characters in this broken family. You feel the emotions and can relate to the struggles of Tommy and Brendan. You feel their dilemmas and pains as true to if you were listing to a close friend and counseling them through tough times in their lives. And when the two brothers face off in the ring, you can't help but cheer for both sides and struggle with the question of who you believe deserves to win more.
In this movie, the mixed martial arts choreography is smooth and you feel like you're watching a real UFC fight. The setting and scenes is properly gritty and unpolished as you would expect from this environment and this family. The actors were cast perfectly to give you the sense of that rough-and-touch, down-trodden family we hope to have in a story such as this. For viewers who may not be into the fighting, they will be rewarded by an emotional storyline that keeps you watching despite of (or maybe because of) the violence in the ring.
This movie ranks up there with Rocky and the more recent The Fighter. It's definitely a must-see movie for this year.