Directed by Gavin O’Connor
Most fight movies are junk, but this “adrenaline-fueled” slugfest will leave even peaceniks “sated, energized, and wanting more,” said Rex Reed in The New York Observer. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are muscle-bound hunks “who can really act,” so you hardly care how far-fetched the plot is that eventually pits them in a mixed martial arts showdown. When Edgerton’s schoolteacher with money woes qualifies for a winner-take-all title fight and faces off against his estranged Iraq war–veteran brother, you’re also in for “some of the best staged combat sequences” ever produced. Warrior has even grander ambitions, though, said Rafer Guzmán in Newsday. Director Gavin O’Connor quite obviously hoped to create “the Moby-Dick of mixed martial arts movies,” but never figured out who his Ahab was. One worthy candidate is Nick Nolte, who, as the brothers’ alcoholic father, delivers “one of the best performances of his growly-bear late career,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salonâ€‹.com. Warrior’s ending is too pat, but that doesn’t erase Nolte’s achievement in “turning what could have been a generic Irish-American pop into an anguished walking ghost.”
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