October 7, 2011
On the Big Board
|I think I liked this more than The Fighter because it felt like it mattered more. Hardy is excellent.
The release of Never Back Down in 2008 proved that most mixed martial arts films are usually rubbish. Writer/director Gavin O’Connor, more known (if at all) for focusing on drama with the awards friendly Tumbleweeds and his biggest hit Miracle, has hopefully crafted a good one.
Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is a former boxer, making ends meet as a steel mill worker. Cutting it a little close to the actor portraying him, Paddy’s addiction to alcohol has split his family apart. However, his youngest son Tom (Tom Hardy) returns, seeking training for a mixed martial arts tournament. So far, so Karate Kid, though as Tom progresses, it looks as if he’ll end up having to smack about his older brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), who is also in the tournament.
Never Back Down probably struck a body-blowing chord upon impressionable young males, won over by the fight sequences put together by top stunt coordinators and choreographers. Warrior has stunt coordinators J.J Perry and Fernando Chien (who also stars in the film). Unfortunately they haven’t coordinated a hell of a lot of theatrical releases. They notably worked together on the web series Angel of Death, with Zoe Bell.
Distributed by Lionsgate, Warrior is likely to target the same crowd of young males who think steroids is the answer. But with O’Connor directing, I would expect more of an emotional wallop and dramatic story arc rather than a mindless "wham-bam, you damaged my diaphragm" actioner. (Shalimar Sahota/BOP)