By Nick Newell
Though I’ve never done a movie review before, I have seen two or three of them in my day, so when CagePotato.com and Break.com asked me to do a review of the new MMA-themed film WARRIOR, I told them I’ll check my schedule. Under ten seconds later I happily agreed.
With the bar on MMA-themed movies being set to an embarrassing low with such Academy Award-worthy gems as Fighting and Never Back Down, I didn’t really know what to expect from WARRIOR. I actually left Never Back Down out of embarrassment after the chubby sidekick told the main character, “You’ve gotta train Mai Thai.”
Regardless, I did my best Bangs impression and took my Shorty to the movies to go see Warrior. After sitting through previews that accused Billy Shakespeare of being a plagiarizing charlatan and dancing gerbils driving ugly cars it was Showtime!
I was fully expecting campy dialogue accompanied by terrible acting, and boy was I wrong. The plot made sense and unraveled well. All in all, WARRIOR really packs a punch (get it!). Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) is a former high school wrestling star and Marine with a past filled with demons, which eventually come out as the movie unwinds. After the death of his mother and going incognito for a number of years, Tommy returns to the home of his alcoholic and abusive father Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) to remind him that he’s a piece of shit while also asking him to help him train for MMA competition.
Unknowingly, his brother Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), a retired MMA fighter with a failed stint in the UFC, is now a high school physics teach who spent all of his money on strippers and cocaine. Did I say strippers and cocaine? I meant he spent all his money on surgery for his ailing daughter who suffers from heart problems. Anyways he faces the possibility of the bank foreclosing on his home unless he comes up with some money fast.
Against the wishes of his wife he makes a comeback to the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Eventually there is a big-time tournament called Sparta with a winner-takes-all five million dollar purse. I’m not going to tell you whether or not they make it into the tournament, but they do. What follows is an epic mixed martial arts tournament that was a throwback to all my favorite movies from back in the day (all of which starred JCVD). The ending even got me a little choked up and made my girlfriend cry.
Although no cast will ever stack up to the original line up in Predator (body mass alone!) the main cast had a lot of depth and played their roles really well. Joel Edgerton played a real likable guy and I believe I noticed a little cauliflower ear. Tom Hardy was a BAD ASS anti-hero and had traps so big he could catch a bear. Nick Nolte was so grizzled and his skin looked like leather! His character was real old school and I believe he taught Chris Brown how to treat a woman.
I also thought it was pretty cool that for the tournament competitors they cast actual MMA Fighters Erik Apple, Nate Marquardt, and Anthony Johnson as well as Olympic gold medalist and pro wrestling superstar Kurt Angle playing a scary Russian stud which I know sounds corny and unbelievable but he makes it work by not talking (it’s true! It’s true). Other MMA fighters & personalities who make appearances include Roan Carneiro, Yves Edwards, Stephan Bonnar, Rashad Evans, Hans Marrero and referee Josh Rosenthal.
On a scale of 1 to 2, with 1 meaning it blew ass and 2 meaning it was a good flick, it is definitely a 2. So gather up your broskis and make the trip to your local theatre and see WARRIOR!!!