Does this MMA film hit harder than Rocky? We take a look at the new film starring Tom Hardy, Warrior.
Sports movies are that of a tricky genre. If you do a boxing movie everyone is going to compare it to Rocky, if you do a wrestling film you’re going to be comparing it to The Wrestler, and if you try and bring some dramatic deep characters into the film you’ll swear you’re watching The Fighter. So what is Warrior? Imagine if you will throwing all those into one big pot, stirring it up and overcooking the whole thing so it actually turns out bad on all three. Which to the say the least was disappointing.
Warrior follows the story of two brothers both struggling in their own regards and their discovery of a way out of their current situation in the form of a tournament called Sparta. While training for the biggest tournament in MMA history, both deal with deeper psychological issues about their abusive father and how now he’s attempted to “turn his life around”. In the end one is triumphant over the other in a dramatic clash of the morals and muscles.
But does this film strike home? Do you really feel blow for blow emotionally and physically? My answer is a clean cut “No”. During the course of the film it is really hard to connect with either of the main characters, considering you are shown one side than the other and vice versa. You don’t get to spend enough time to truly analyze each person in their own situation, instead you are thrown this way and that way trying to scrounge up any kind of emotion. The only character that I felt anything for was their father. Now throughout the film it’s alluded to the fact that he was an abusive alcoholic cruel man who never showed anything compassion save for the bottle that held his liquor. To watch him attempt to redeem himself in his son’s eyes is a truly moving experience, especially during a scene where Tommy(Tom Hardy) angrily throws money at him saying “I liked you better as a drunk”.
The film as a whole did have those kind of powerful moments, but they were left at the wayside when it came to other elements throughout the duration of the film. Metaphors that alluded to Moby Dick as well as Beethoven were not explored enough, Tommy’s reason for fighting was introduced very late into the film, to the point where it really didn’t matter. It would have been better had they just not included that.One of the things that actually made me enjoy the film was the idea of getting to pick who the protagonist and the antagonist was. It really did feel like you were watching an MMA battle, but as the film drew closer to it’s conclusion it was very plain to see who was meant to be the antagonist and who was meant to rise above and be champion. Even right down to their metaphorically colored shorts of white and black.
Not to mention they cut out a large portion of a character. After their father experiences some hardships in the film he is almost completely stricken from the rest of it. It was as if the filmmaker said “Okay he had his moment, now let’s lose him and focus on the battle.” Which would have been all fine and dandy had he not played a pivotal role in both the fighter’s stories.
While the film as a whole wasn’t the worst I’ve seen when it comes to the sports genre, it certainly could have been better. But it will appeal to the MMA fans, as I could tell from the audience reaction last night and the little comment cards that were handed to us by the studio. Those who enjoy flat brim hats and Tapout decals will enjoy this movie, but for everyone who grew up watching Rocky, this film is far from a knockout.
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