Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, and Nick Nolte

There's an unique euphoria we all get from watching people beat the hell out of each other for a couple of hours in a great sports flick.  It just makes us feel good inside.  The mixed martial arts (MMA) film Warrior has plenty of great moments, but it drowns in unnecessary drama.

Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte)  is a former alcoholic whose addictive and abusive tendencies ripped his family apart years ago.  His wife and younger son Tommy (Tom Hardy) left him a long time ago.  When Paddy's son Tommy returns home to Pittsburgh and asks him to be his trainer, he tries to make up for his past mistakes and reunite his family.  Tommy, however, is just focused on entering the Sparta competition for the biggest prize ever in mixed martial arts.

Meanwhile, Tommy's older brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is underwater on the mortgage payments for his house and faces the nightmare of foreclosure unless he can pony up some dough in the next 90 days.  Working as a high school physics teacher won't pay the bills though.  He decides to re-enter the world of mixed martial arts and compete in the Sparta competition for a chance at that same bounty.  As the brothers work tirelessly toward their goals, they're on a collision course to reunite in combat at the biggest MMA competition to date.

I really enjoyed Warrior.  We had an underdog and a badass both of whom you couldn't help but love.  As much as I cheered for Joel Edgerton's Brendan being the little teacher that could, I rooted for Tom Hardy's Tommy beating the crap out of anyone and everyone in his path.  The fight scenes in the cage for these boys were fast-paced, gritty battles that were compelling entertainment.  The other thing I must say I loved in the film was the commentary during the Sparta tournament.  Those commentators were sharp and witty.  They were undeniably hilarious throughout the film.

As much as I enjoyed Warrior, I had a few problems with it.  When neither Edgerton nor Hardy was in the cage, the movie was too slow for my taste.  They dragged out the family drama and financial woes way too much.  Liquor was looking a little better when they weren't fighting.  I needed something with a little kick to get me through the dull drama scenes of the movie.

The music choices were another problem I had with the movie at times.  Playing 'Ode to Joy' from Beethoven's 9th Symphony was clever for Brendan's entrance music.  It did highlight the fact that this teacher does not really belong in the MMA world, but the music was utilized in this flick a few times before the Sparta tournament.  The use of Beethoven in the film was a bit odd in other parts of the film.  Listening to this classical music while the boys were training for the Sparta tournament was pretty weird.  It was definitely a what-the-hell moment.  Give me some "Eye of the Tiger" or some other good jam.

Warrior is a decent flick with plenty of action and laughs.  It's not on the level of more recent sports flicks like The Fighter or The Wrestler though.  This is definitely a movie to have a few beers with.  Warrior gets a 0.06% rating.