In Warrior, two MMA-fighting brothers reunite in the cage
You know those Affliction shirts, covered in skulls, gothic lettering and tribal patterns, all cacophonous symbols of bad-ass machismo? That's what the mixed martial arts tie-in movie Warrior is: an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fire sale of male-weepie tropes, awesome in its thoroughness. The collective dream of authentic blue-collar American grubbiness lives on in a Pittsburgh row house, where long-estranged son Tommy (Tom Hardy), just back from a tour with the Marines, visits his recovering alcoholic dad Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte). Tommy can't forgive the old man for breaking up the family, but needs a trainer for his nascent MMA career. In Philadelphia, Tommy's older brother, Brendon (Joel Edgerton), a physics teacher and family man who has likewise broken ties with his past, gets back in the fighter's octagon to keep the bank from repossessing his house. The announcement of a tournament-style championship contest sets the brothers on a collision course to a family reunion in the cage. Old line-gargler Nolte remains an effortlessly moving presence, while Hardy and Edgerton embody their archetypes and handle the physical demands. With a silverback strut and the neck of a '30s-mural prole, Hardy does Method brooding, while Edgerton underplays with integrity in a film that spends its last hour piling climax on top of climax, holding the audience in an emotional arm bar.
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