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Warrior: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Warrior grips you from beginning to end. In fact, it’s the most moving sports movie in recent memory. Releasing on DVD today, this new sports drama is a no-holds-barred look at the intensity of mixed martial arts and a family plagued by an anguishing past that struggles with reconciliation.

Starring Nick Nolte (The Thin Red Line), Tom Hardy (Inception) and Joel Edgerton (King Arthur), Warrior hooks and locks you into watching as the affecting story of the Conlon boys unfolds. It’s an engaging drama that has faith at the start of it all.


With the hopes of winning the biggest purse in mixed martial arts history, ex-Marine Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) returns home and gets the help of his former coach, his recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte). Uninterested in reconciling, Tommy simply wants to train to win. At the same time, his estranged brother, school teacher Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), who also rejects their father’s attempts at communication, reenters the cage to save his family from bankruptcy. The newcomer and the underdog set their sights on the final prize and neither back down even as they confront each other in the ring.


Director Gavin O’Connor, who also produced, wrote and acted in Warrior, tapped two incredible actors – Tom Hardy and Joel Edgreton – to be the mad-at-the-world, former soldier Tommy and the embittered older brother Brendan. Both actors offer genuine and convincing performances as these troubled characters, making it incredibly difficult to know who to root for when they have to fight each other. Right with them is veteran actor Nick Nolte, who plays their forgiveness-seeking father, Paddy. Not overly sentimental, Warrior’s drama isn’t forced. Engrossed in the story, you cannot help but care about this family that’s been ripped apart by abuse, alcoholism and separation.

O’Connor, who in his personal life is returning to his Catholic roots, thought it important to have faith be the catalyst for the change Tommy and Brendan see in their father Paddy’s life. It’s not a Christian movie per se and it's not a clean movie, but it’s a redemptive one. Rated PG-13, Warrior contains many MMA fight sequences and foul language (including profanity and an F-bomb). Though it’s a mixed martial arts movie and the fight scenes aren’t few, O’Connor does manage to keep the level of gruesomeness to a minimum.


The DVD highlights numerous special features that fans of the film will enjoy. An audio commentary with director Gavin O’Conner, co-writer Anthony Tambakis and actor Joel Edgerton is featured. “Simply Believe” is a video tribute to the inspiration for the film - the late Charles “Mask” Lewis, Jr., O’Connor’s friend and the founder of the TapouT clothing line. The DVD also features a deleted scene, a gag reel (“Cheap Shots” – a clip that also contains profanity), an in-depth look at the fight filmed between the two brothers (“Brother vs. Brother” Anatomy of the Fight”) and much more.


Warrior is an exceptionally engaging story about a family who at first glance seems beyond repair in a film declaring redemption can be found in even the darkest of hearts. However, caution is advised due to the nature of the filmed sport and the language used in the movie.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's