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Review – Warrior

Click poster for official site.

Click poster for official site.

With Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo; Running Time: 139 minutes; Rated PG-13 (for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material); Written by Gavin O’Connor & Anthony Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman; Directed by Gavin O’Connor.

Imagine a world in which something called “mixed martial arts” fighting is the most important thing in the world. Everyone obsesses over it. News channels have bulletins with late-breaking news about those who do the fighting. In fact, everyone is desperate to know who will be the “middleweight champion of the world” in this field, and those who do the fighting are world-renowned celebrities.

If this sounds like science fiction, don’t fret. You can visit this bizarre and hyped-up world in the new movie WARRIOR, a bloated bit of hokum now lumbering onto local screens. It’s a movie that refuses to deal with the problem that sports films have. Usually who wins and who loses has to be dramatically satisfying and thus every match is, in effect, fixed. Instead of facing that problem, “Warrior” sets up a situation so contrived that there is no suspense in the film at all.

The story involves two brothers. Tommy (Tom Hardy) has come home to Pittsburgh to train for the mixed martial arts championship. He is estranged from his father (Nick Nolte), now a reformed alcoholic who agrees, nonetheless, to help him train. The other brother is Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a high school science teacher who is in danger of losing his home and decides to pick up money in quick fights. When he is suspended from school, he decides to go for the championship as well.

Of the sixteen contenders in this championship bout, only two will face each other in the final round. Even if you haven’t seen the poster featuring Hardy and Edgerton, it’s painfully obvious who the final two will be, especially after a scene where we learn the two brothers are estranged as well. In the meantime, we must endure scenes meant to define the various family conflicts that move at the speed of a glacier. It doesn’t help that Edgerton and Hardy are fairly inert, and Nolte gives the hammiest performance of his career as the ex-alcoholic father who has lost the love of both his sons. Only Frank Grillo, as a trainer who urges his fighters to “relax” and teaches them to pace themselves to Beethoven is the least bit interesting.

As for “mixed martial arts” fighting, it’s a real thing, but it is nowhere near the all-consuming passion depicted here. For those unfamiliar with it, it involves two fighters who engage in what amounts to a barroom brawl, with some vague rules separating it from absolute barbarism. One is allowed to punch and kick, and even beat one’s opponent after they’ve fallen. Apparently biting is against the rules. At least we see none here.

“Warrior” is slow, predictable, woodenly acted, and utterly preposterous. If you’re a fan of “mixed martial arts” bouts, you might forgive the film its flaws because it is validating your sport. That’s not an illegitimate reason for liking a film. However it doesn’t make this bad film good, and if you don’t think no-holds-barred fighting is a sport, there’s really no reason to see this at all.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being Jar Jar Binks Must Die… And Other Observations About Science Fiction Movies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville.

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About Daniel M. Kimmel

Film critic, author, lecturer.

33 responses »

  1. Your review is utterly preposterous. First of all you are obviously biased by your clear misunderstanding of MMA and calling it a “barroom brawl” is absolutely insulting to the athletes who compete in the sport. You have probably never watched an event but probably subscribe to the articles demanding its banning when last year 30,000 cheerleaders were sent to the hospital and several died, football has numerous concussions, etc. In fact one man has ever died from MMA its it 20-25 year existence and it was an unsanctioned event by the athletic commission. MMA is one of the safest and tightly controlled sports as baseball players are popped constantly for steroids, lock-outs and egos run supreme in basketball MMA athletes are some of the most down to earth and passionate athletes about their sport. Combining the long running olympic sports of Boxing, Judo, and Wrestling along with submissions from one of Brazil’s most popular sports Jiu-Jitsu. You’re disrespect for one of the fastest growing sports today is insulting. Not to mention this is one of the highest rated films of the year. Do some research on the sport, actually watch the movie in an unbiased fashion and maybe you won’t be stuck on northshoremovies.com

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      You are correct. I completely disrespect this alleged “sport.” It’s little more than a sick joke. But you are incorrect that that means I must therefore favor other sports in its stead. And I understand that some of the people involved in the “sport” of WWE wrestling are wonderful people too.

      Reply
      • I took my peace loving hippy girlfriend to watch this movie and she thought it was a great movie! Also it is sad you think that MMA isn’t a sport, its origin dates back to ancient Greece in an olympic event called Pankration (it combined boxing and wrestling). It annoys me when people judge MMA as a “sick joke,” please do your research before you judge something you have no clue about.

      • Daniel M. Kimmel

        And you need to learn to read an entire review before complaining about how wrong it is. I stand by my comments:

        “Warrior” is slow, predictable, woodenly acted, and utterly preposterous. If you’re a fan of “mixed martial arts” bouts, you might forgive the film its flaws because it is validating your sport. That’s not an illegitimate reason for liking a film. However it doesn’t make this bad film good, and if you don’t think no-holds-barred fighting is a sport, there’s really no reason to see this at all.

  2. In case you missed the news, the UFC, MMA’s premier organization, just signed a 7 Year deal with FOX. The first UFC on Fox event will take place on November 12th. So although to you it may seem preposterous for people to care that much about MMA, it will soon be a mainstream sport with mainstream media coverage and fighters with celebrity status. Many MMA fighters already have such celebrity status. You’d be hard pressed to find a Quebecois who hasn’t heard of George St. Pierre, the UFC Welterweight Champion, and I doubt you’ll find one American under the age of 30 who doesn’t know Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. Go take one hour-long Jiu Jitsu class and you’ll never have talk such disrespectful, ignorant nonsense in calling MMA a sick joke. It takes more training, discipline and intelligence than most other sports. The move Edgerton’s character used on Hardy to dislocate his shoulder is a Jiu Jitsu submission called an Omoplata, which has been used for hundreds of years and takes years worth of training to pull on a fellow practicioner, as are most submission holds and chokes used in MMA. This review makes you sound like a Dinosaur, terrified of the new. Never heard of Anderson Silva? I’m 24, and he is my generation’s Cascius Clay, and while you can’t believe that this sick joke could ever get such mainstream acceptance, my generation is witnessing technical brilliance the likes of which Bruce Lee could only imitate with choreography. It’s only a matter of time until MMA is just as big as it was in Warrior. Just a few months ago, the Rogers Center in Toronto sold out an event with 55,000 spectators. There is now a major MMA promotion on every continent except Antarctica. The UFC’s last event was a sold out arena in Rio de Janeiro, which was watched by roughly 40,000,000 Brazilian households. I’m afraid the only sick joke is how out of touch you are.

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  3. AnonFromRottenTomatoes

    LOL.

    You write for a readership that doesn’t realize MMA is real?

    Honestly, I was about to move on without commenting, but the line left me wondering what kind of mouth-breating ‘tards read this place and take you seriously?

    Regarding your main complaint, implausibility and the use of non-realistic elements in this film, I mean, really, who cares?

    Most great fiction includes non-realistic and wildly implausible elements.

    How realistic and plausible is it that man would ever accidentally kill his father and marry his mother?

    Or sail between Scylla and Charybdis?

    Or stand alone in a room and say things out loud like “to be or not to be that is the question”?

    You see, professor, artists, including filmmakers, use these non-realistic elements because they work and because they understand what you don’t — that an audience will gladly suspend disbelief when a work has other merits, and this film has many, as most of your colleagues in the world of professional film review have recognized.

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  4. Read Steven’s comment. The legitimacy of MMA is unarguable at this point. Its a billion dollar industry and is one of the safest sports in our modern world. Especially when compared to juggernauts like Football. And on the movie it was a great film. Their is a reason you are on Northshoremovies.com. The greats of the movie reviewers such as Roger Ebert gave this movie its due when he even admitted he didn’t fully understand or agree with the sport. Its obvious bias influenced your review but its 82% on Rotten Tomatoes (the same Contagion has recieved you know the movie you gave 5/5?) Really this review doesn’t matter. You are out of touch and uninformed. Speak to some MMA fighters watch the events absorb yourself in the world and you will see what a cultured and mainstream sport it has become.

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      In other words, nearly 1 our of 5 critics panned it. That may put me in the minority, but hardly makes me a lonely voice in the wilderness. Notice that hardly any movies on Rotten Tomatoes score 100% or 0%. There are a range of opinions on nearly every movie. People need to learn that this isn’t “Family Feud” and the goal of a critic is to offer an honest, personal assessment, not guess which way the pack will run.

      Reply
  5. I’m not a fan of MMA myself, & could care less one way or the other about how the reviewer feels about it, but to say this movie is “woodenly acted” is pure nonsense. Hardy, Edgerton, & Nolte were all fantastic.

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  6. I really enjoyed this movie. The reasons are many. I’m somewhat puzzled by how someone who claims to be a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books can so badly miss the boat. I agree with A. O. Scott:

    “But like the brutal, brawling sport that provides Mr. O’Connor with a backdrop, a storehouse of metaphors and a pretext for staging some viscerally effective fight scenes, “Warrior” possesses surprising poetry and finesse. Which is not to say that it is subtle. The director’s impressive technique — and all the grace and discipline of his excellent, hard-working cast — is mustered with a single, unambiguous goal in mind. This movie wants to knock you out. It will.

    Mr. O’Connor, who wrote the “Warrior” screenplay with Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman, knows perfectly well that surprise is not the essence of sports-movie suspense. A few years back he directed “Miracle,” a rousing reconstruction of one of the most celebrated athletic moments in recent history, the 1980 victory of the underdog United States Olympic ice hockey team over its fearsome Soviet rival. It’s not as if knowing the outcome of the real story diminishes that movie’s impact. On the contrary, the sense of inevitability and improbability makes its triumphant finish all the more cathartic.

    While the Conlon brothers are both fighting for the money, the real stakes are much deeper. Though their climactic confrontation is terrifyingly violent, it is also tender. And the most disarming thing about “Warrior” is that, for all its mayhem, it is a movie about love.”

    One need not be a fan of MMA to appreciate this film on many different levels. To assert otherwise, as you have done in your misguided assessment, is to betray a cluelessness unbecoming a movie critic.

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  7. I respect your review but I encourage you to give MMA a second look. MMA is far safer than football or boxing. Especially at the top levels of the sport, the amount of precautions that are taken is incredible. There has never been a death in MMA in a national organization (something that neither boxing nor football can boast). It is growing in popularity and has taken hold in the important youth demographic. You might not care for combat sports, and I can understand that perfectly well, but I would encourage you not to be so dismissive of something that you clearly don’t know a whole lot about.

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  8. Do you have any concept of what constitutes good or bad acting? I urge you to re-examine what you’re doing with your life if you actually think Hardy, Edgerton and Nolte turned in bad performances. All were great, always in-the-moment listening to each other, made great choices and had the awareness to find the moments in each scene, even if the lines weren’t always there in the script. Less important, but Hardy’s American accent was also amazing.

    Please point to some moments you actually thought weren’t working on a performance level. I’d love to hear what you have to say for yourself. Nolte “hamming it up?” Where? Hardy “inert?” The guy’s never turned in an inert performance in his life. Edgerton has the least flashy of the three characters and still managed to give us many of the best moments.

    And don’t you dare hide behind, “Well, it’s my opinion.” As a film critic, I’m sure you understand that there is a level of objectivity when it comes to evaluating this kind of stuff, and if you want to act like you have a credible opinion on film and filmmaking, you have to actually be able to back it up.

    So let’s hear it.

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      I’ve written my review. The performances speak for themselves. I didn’t find any of the three leads credible. Mastering an accent is an admirable skill but is not sufficient to constitute “acting.” Nolte chews the scenery like the worst sort of ham actor never giving us the slightest indication this character existed prior to his entrance in the film, and the other two seem to think that mumbling and whispering indicates sincerity and intensity.

      If you enjoyed the film, fine. My job is not to persuade, but neither is it to simply validate your views. I thought it was a terrible — and terribly dull — film. Deal with it.

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      • Zero depth.

        Mastering an accent is a small part of acting — notice how I said, “Less important?” Cheap move trying to make that into a point of yours. Your defense of Nolte being a ham is to say he was being a ham? You can’t be serious. And what about Nolte’s performance made you believe he didn’t exist before he entered the story? Are you perhaps mistaking it for a script deficiency and are confused?

        Look, I know I’m not going to get you to admit that you don’t know much about acting or filmmaking. I get it. Everyone has a reputation they need to maintain. But suffice to say your assessment of the lead performances shows me what you know, and honestly, if you’re teaching kids at a university, I urge you to do a little more reading, maybe take a few classes, because it’s not really fair to them if this is what you’re teaching them.

      • Betcha Nolte gets nominated for an Oscar for this which… you know… will kinda call your own credibility into question just a little bit, no?

        It’s okay for you to dislike a film as well… but it’s also possible to be wrong about a film critique. It’s not like you’re getting paid to tell us your favourite flavour of pudding. On this one, it doesn’t just happen that the film doesn’t suit your tastes. You’re actually wrong.

        Deal with it.

  9. Daniel,
    It is rare to see film critics address reader responses, especially when the readers are obviously not so well versed in film. However, you do. Thank you for that.

    I don’t agree with all your points, but I was surprised that you didn’t mention how absurdly high the need for suspension of disbelief is needed for Warrior. Regardless of older brother Brandon’s past fights in the ring and his more recent brawls in local tourneys, it would be pretty much impossible for him to actually contend for the top spot after a mere two months or so. It would be a disservice to the sport (yes, I said it) of Mixed Martial Arts to think it can be done nowadays. Younger brother Tommy, “the war hero,” is likewise set up to pander to our emotions. Oh well, I still enjoyed the movie for the most part.

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      And while we obviously have different takes on the film, I appreciate your intelligent and insightful response. Personally I’m wondering how those Marines got a huge bloc of tickets at the last minute for what is presented as a major and presumably sold out event.

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  10. Daniel M. Kimmel

    With one exception, noted above, I think the reactions to this review fall into two categories. First there are the personal attacks. These are people who do not understand movies or film criticism and think it’s all about validating their own opinions. They tell me I am “wrong” because I don’t agree with them. Were I to answer them in kind I might ask why they were devoting so much energy to answering me and the other 20% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes who panned the film instead of, say, trying to get that promotion to assistant fry cook at McDonald’s. However such exchanges of insults would prove nothing about the merits of the film or my review, only that some people have trouble dealing with opinions that do not mirror their own. I dismiss such attacks as utterly lacking in merit.

    The other reaction, often from the same person, is that I am “wrong” because the “majority” of critics or they and their friends all agreed that this was the greatest movie ever. Since I am in the minority I must be “wrong.” This argument also fails because film reviewing is not about majority rule, and — taken to its logical conclusion — would make the box office the sole determiner of a film’s merit. Thus “Transformers 3″ would have to be the best film of 2011. Better yet, such logic would “prove” that “Warrior” was a failure. From Box Office Mojo’s weekend report:

    “Contagion shot to the top of the box office, as one would expect of such a high-profile thriller, while Warrior mustered little support… Not quite in the hot zone, Contagion’s spread was contained at an estimated $23.1 million on close to 3,900 screens at 3,222 locations… Though it was pumped up as a crowd pleaser, Warrior lacked punch in its debut [in third place, behind The Help], even by the sports drama genre’s modest standards. It drew an estimated $5.6 million on nearly 2,100 screens at 1,869 locations, which was a lightweight result compared to The Fighter’s $12.1 million and Fighting’s $11.0 million, among past similar movies….”

    In other words, all the MMA fans came out this weekend to see “their” movie, and that’s about all it’s going to draw. So moviegoers overwhelmingly preferred “Contagion” to “Warrior,” just as I did. Indeed, since it is the very rare movie that sustains or improves its box office over time, this is the BEST that “Warrior” will do. In terms of pure box office, that makes it a flop.

    I do not claim a person who likes a movie I did not is “wrong.” It’s a matter of personal taste. However I do note that the responses here show an incredible lack of understanding of both movies and movie criticism (such as the people who claim I know nothing about acting because I wasn’t impressed with Nolte’s scenery chewing). I am done responding here. If you liked the film you’re entitled to your opinion. However it is not the greatest sports movie ever made, even if limited to boxing/wrestling/martial arts movies, and it was a disappointment at the box office. You’ll just have the deal with the fact that the “majority” is against you.

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    • The incredible hypocrisy of your last comment just begs to be addressed, so here we go.

      Personally I feel you are entitled to like or dislike whatever you wish. That’s the beauty of living in this country and in this society. You didn’t like the movie, and that is your perrogative. You could have ended your movie review then and there. But you consciously chose to add in an attack on the sport of MMA and all of those who enjoy watching and participating in it, because of your lack of understanding of the sport. You consciously chose to insert what you just criticized commenters for doing to you…personal attacks. That sir is incorrect. And by the way, adding that “if I were to answer in kind” before your cute McDonald’s statement does not automatically mean “well IF I were to answer in kind, but I am better than you lowlifes so I won’t”. Sorry, you came down to their level, and now you’re called on the carpet about it.

      Here’s the deal, just because you don’t understand MMA gives you absolutely no right to personally attack those who enjoy it. I happen to think that golf isn’t a sport in any way shape or form. But do I personally attack people who love golf or play golf? No, of course not. I let them enjoy what they want, and they let me enjoy what I want. I happen to have a theory on why people such as yourself seem to have so much vitriol towards MMA, but that is for another time and place.

      See here’s the funny part, I actually agree with a good portion of your review. I thought the movie was good, but not amazing as many other people seem to think so. There were quite a few problems I had with it, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. But I don’t need to personally attack you to make myself feel better. Live and let live, do your job sir and leave the personal attacks out of it next time.

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      • Daniel M. Kimmel

        I said I’m not saying anything more on the film but the notion that criticizing a sport is off limits because it will offend fans of that sport as a “personal attack” is beyond absurd. I don’t know of any journalist or critic who adheres to such a standard.

      • You can criticize a sport, I never said to the contrary. What I did have a problem with is your severe misunderstanding of a sport that many, many fans (including myself) love dearly. MMA fans are extremely passionate about our sport (and yes, it doesn’t matter what you say or think, MMA is about as legitimate of a sport as there is in this world) and we do not take kindly to those who demean and defame our wonderful game, especially in cases of misunderstanding (such as you, or is it jealousy?).

        I also had a problem with you insinuating that all MMA fans are dumb, uneducated and only capable of working in low level fast food type jobs. Here’s the problem that you keep missing. You are a MOVIE CRITIC. Leave the personal attacks and agendas out of it. You didn’t like the movie. Leave it at that. Your description of what MMA is is unnecessary and unwanted in such a forum.

        Listen, nothing I say will change your mind, and nothing you say will change mine. But your attack on MMA and it’s fans was wrong, and we all would greatly appreciate a sincere apology.

      • I have nothing to apologize for. I was expressing an opinion on this barbaric so-called “sport.” If you disagree, that is your right. It is not a “personal attack.” I think the box office failure of this film speaks volumes about just how much appeal this “sport” has for the general public, however rabid its fans are.

      • And by the way, there is a difference between criticize and attack

      • You do have something to apologize for. You are too arrogant to realize it. You sir are wrong. Plain and simple. Enjoy elitist life in academia. Don’t worry we’ll keep things going for you here in the real world.

  11. I agree with you that it is not the greatest sports movie ever made but I (respectfully) disagree with you about the acting. I have some experience in acting and (know) it is very, very tough. Not only do you have to be a great listener but you must at least have a certain understanding about human emotions. I am not saying you have to be a psychology major or wise all-knowing guru but every person has those instincts within them. We also use these “instincts” when admiring works of art, concepts or abstract ideas and (yes) even the nuanced qualities of a performance. Deciding what movies to like or people to confide in; etc.

    Performances in my opinion are only as good as the directors and I think for the most part Warrior achieves this as a piece of film art. Sure the acting has some broad strokes (it almost reminds me of David O’Russell’s the Fighter). The Fighter (as you know) is a similar film to Warrior (both in look, tone and marketing) about a broken family played against the backdrop of a Cinderella sports story. Warrior (I think) gets the attitude and the emotion(s) right. Right for MMA and right for sports movies. Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte (as you well know) are brilliant actors. They inhabit the space almost effortlessly. If one does not believe me watch Hardy in Bronson or Rock n Rolla or even Star Trek and it takes (an idiot–no offense, honestly) to not see that he’s brilliant in Warrior. The accent is not the breadth of it. Nolte’s performance is great to me because it is a culmination of his entire career. Just think James Coburn got an Oscar playing opposite Nolte in Affliction and now over a decade has passed and Nolte plays a similar role for which he’ll likely take home deserved gold.

    I believe that certain people misinterpret the “genius” of a film because of pre-conceived notions about tone, setting and technique and yes: tastes (I do not necessarily mean Warrior). For instance, a person might find the Japanese film Departures to be boring because it is slow, or they quote: “don’t understand Japanese stuff.” Similarly, any 14 year old who tells you that Casablanca is a “stupid old people’s movie” probably can’t be trusted in my opinion. We all have what we like and are all subjective. Sometimes we don’t like something (as you so eloquently pointed out) because it is our opinion that does not fall into the majority.

    I for one can appreciate Soderberg’s Contagion on many levels. It’s documentary like style, it overlapping dialogue scenes signaling a sense of social commentary (a trait of docu/epic-Soderberg as seen in epics like Traffic). The brilliant script which juggles several characters. The sparse ambiance of sound. I could go on but why bother? To preach to the choir? Yet, some people did not like it, why? Well, they just didn’t. Some may not have because they lacked the skills to see it the right way. Others had the skills but failed to acknowledge the film’s gifts.

    One thing is for certain though, one cannot presume to believe that others don’t know what they know and thus are lacking as a result. This as you pointed out is the rookie mistake that some people make (bloggers anyone?). That of course goes both ways! If we all thought like that all the time we would be better human beings and we would probably have better movies too. And also less harsh words to one another. Less intellectual discrimination and more accepting of others’ points of view, despite how it may differ from our intellectual, social and emotional upbringing (however we arrived to it).

    So to comment on your comments (and review). Its not that I don’t agree with you (far from it). It’s just that like many critics both professional and amateur alike, I don’t believe you necessarily have all the right tools at the given moment to judge everything properly. Roger Ebert (one of the most brilliant movie minds in the world in my view) called Seven Days in Utopia a “dreadful parable of a pro golfer”. He also poked fun at the hokey religious platitudes which many (of course) took too personally.

    I think that’s a bit unfair. I doubt Mr. Ebert has felt what its like to shoot a 76 on a long course. Or have felt the grace of being submerged within a catholic mass, without all the artificial baggage “atheists” tend to attach to it. Having that kind of emotional weight lifted off between a father and a son at odds. The more I tend to read “critics” the more I start to believe they know an awful lot about movies and not so much about life. Despite their age. I am 27 and feel like sometimes I’ve lived three lifetimes. I can see it reflected in the tastes of films too. La Strata, Marty, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and Black Narcissus. Not just White Chicks, Scary Movie 4, Drive Angry 3-D or Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

    And yes, that is just my opinion.

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  12. Your criticisms of the movie belong, right or wrong; the problem here is that your undermining the sport the flick is based in does not. You sat through the movie – you have a right to your opinion of it. It’s not crazy to gather, however, that you do not watch much (any?) actual MMA. That being the case, how can you be so comfortable demeaning it? I don’t think you have to watch or enjoy MMA. Why do you seem to think I have no substantial reasons to do the opposite?

    Personally, I think it’s lame to disrespect so many people who have spent their whole lives training in a world (literally) and generations of honed technique that can be as rich and true to them as anything can be to anyone, with a discipline most people will never achieve to compete at something so challenging. But the only relevant issue is that it makes for a bad review. You say liking MMA is an alright reason to like the movie, but you imply that this might not contain any “reason” at all. That’s where I don’t need your help as a critic.

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  13. Daniel M. Kimmel

    “While many fans held out hope that it would have strong legs, mixed martial arts drama Warrior collapsed 45 percent to $2.86 million in its second round. Through two weekends, the Lionsgate release has tallied just over $10 million.”

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3274&p=.htm

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  14. My qualms with your review is that you’ve insulted what was brilliant acting. If you can convey an emotional story and internal turmoil without words, that’s called good acting. I’m no actor, but that’s just obvious. I fear for academia if that flew over your head and good acting is what you describe in your lectures as woodenly.

    You seem to also absolutely miss the fact that the depth of emotion in a conflicted relationship between brothers who were separated by an abusive alcoholic father who is internally conflicted, and then in the brevity of roughly a month are brought back together in a bout of emotional conflict is a fresh idea. An underdog beating odds is not the story here. It’s in the story, but it is not THE story. If you noticed there was no celebration about winning five million dollars or being recognized. Even then the relief at the end of the story is that the brothers are reconciled, and that the father is at peace not because his sons now love him, but that his legacy of destruction is not wholly definitive. Saving the house, being a cool physics professor, beating the odds is just glaze on the turkey.

    Not just that but the film makes a classic literature reference to add depth for the audience to see what is going on inside the father. It adds a dimension of depth when you see in his drunken stupor what’s inside and why he listens to Moby Dick even while he’s driving.

    You keep straw manning MMA, which is really disturbing if I am to consider that you received a graduate degree relevant to this meditation and that you’re passing on your thoughts to students. Hopefully that isn’t so.

    Another thought, it is true that it is not your job as a critic to validate the opinions of movie goers, but it IS your job to provide deeper, thoughtful, and educated insight into a film. That’s what literary critics are for, I think it’s safe to assume that’s what film critics are for. You failed to do so, and when you fail to do so you are no better than teenager with a blog, and your only purpose in the end becomes just to validate the opinions of fans of the movie. The numbers you post on rotten tomatoes are just to suggest that you enjoyed the movie or not.

    And really?? You used the box office argument??? There is no need for words why that is a retarded argument.

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      Chewing the scenery is not great acting. Shoehorning in references to classical literature is not profundity. Mumbling and grunting is not proof of “depth of emotion.” The movie was a turkey and, for a change, the box office reflected that. Often terrible films like “Bridesmaids” and “Transformers” are huge hits. In this case, that didn’t happen. And I pointed that out because people were insisting that the public was embracing this piece of trash. They did not. The film is one of the big flops of the season.

      Reply
  15. I agree with many points you make in this film. It’s too predictable and also very cliche-ridden. It tries too hard to make us sympathize with the characters. Most importantly, there’s no suspense. So I agree with your with almost everything other than MMA being like a ‘barroom brawl’. Others have made points about this, so I won’t go into it too much. But maybe watch some events and you’ll see it’s not as brutal as one might think.

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  16. Ok, your comment about Frank’s character as the most interesting one is sarcasm, right? You’re so far gone with your assessment, the academy must have just given Nick Nolte another Oscar nomination just for laughs. And Joel and Tom are inert?? The words fail me, you have no depth whatsoever. Reviewing cookbooks will suit you much better. This whole review must be a social experiment because, even though opinions differ, this “review” is so out there it’s hard to believe its real. Yes, many points in the storyline are contrived, but the performances are untouchable.

    Reply
    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      I stand by my review of this overrated (by some) flop movie. Nolte’s nomination for his overwrought hammy performance is one of the scandals of this year’s Oscar race, along with the equally hammy (and unworthy) performance by another veteran actor, Max von Sydow. The award will likely go to Christopher Plummer, as much for his body of work as for being the best thing in his film. However most critics groups agreed on which supporting actor gave THE performance of the year, and it’s a crime that Albert Brooks wasn’t even nominated for “Drive.” As for the other performances they were less “untouchable” than unwatchable. “Warriors” was one of the worst movies of 2011 regardless of whether many critics thought otherwise.

      Reply
      • Daniel M. Kimmel

        And, to no one’s surprise, Nolte didn’t get an undeserved Oscar for his overwrought performance here.

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