Warrior is film about how two estranged brothers, who both enter a fighting tournament for different reasons yet end up being forced to address their relationship with each other as well as with their estranged father along the way. The youngest brother, Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy), is an ex-Marine who has recently returned home to Pittsburgh from combat; his older brother, Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), is a married man with a family, who works as a high school physics teacher; and, their father, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte), is a former alcoholic who has become a born-again Christian.
In the film, Tommy has no interest in reconciling with his father, but he does want something from him… his help; Tommy wants to compete in Sparta, a winner-takes-all mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament, and he asks his father to be his trainer. Brendan, on the other hand, is struggling with paying his mortgage, and if he doesn’t figure something out in three weeks, it will be foreclosed upon by the bank. Desperately in need of money, Brendan returns to his former profession as a MMA fighter and asks his old friend, Frank Campana (Frank Grillo), to train him for the same fight that his brother is entering.
Both Tommy and Brendan are able to fight off the toughest MMA fighters throughout the competition. Tommy – the more physical – prefers to wrestle and brutally knock-out his opponents, while Brendan uses his skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to defeat his opponents via submission. In the end, the two brothers come head to head in the final fight, and they are forced to confront their past, themselves, and their severed family ties.
Directed and produced by Gavin O’Connor, Warrior is not just about fighting for a physical prize…the interweaving of tangled broken relationship creates an emotional battle that is equally intense. It’s amazing how a film so full of adrenaline can also bring you to tears, but Warrior does, indeed, captivate you on many levels.