Winner of eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture, The Warrior is a hugely entertaining film from start to finish. With an original score by Philip Glass, this film has a unique look and sound - much like a classic Clint Eastwood western. As a result, the film is quite unlike any other you have seen. The storyline surrounds two unlikely friends who stumble across the ultimate prize in their travels: the opportunity to exact revenge on their sworn enemy. This leads to a series of unlikely events that propel the characters across the globe, from the snowy wastes of New Zealand to the bright lights and action of London.
An estranged family discovers redemption in the most unlikely of places: the MMA arena. Tommy (Tom Hardy) an ex-marine with a sad past, came back home to Australia and enrolls at a boxing gym, hoping to win some money. His father, a recovering addict and former wrestling trainer, thinks otherwise. When Tommy wins the first ever "Mixed Martial Arts Championship" against defending champion "Colin Cassius" (Jude Law) in front of a live audience, his father decides he needs to give up the sport.
Having previously trained in karate and kung fu, Tommy has no hopes of becoming a world-class boxer. However, he is impressed by the style and passion of British knockout artist "Chad Clucher" (Damian Lewis). Although a skilled fighter, Tommy finds it difficult to win a fight. He believes that only someone with extreme confidence and a clear mental focus can beat out professional boxers, especially those with years of experience and an unblemished record. Unbeknownst to Tommy, his classmate and martial arts partner, Fabio (Glen Morris) also trained inuay and has a clear mental focus and confidence in himself.
As the movie progresses, we discover that Tommy and Fabio have become rivals, with Fabio's unblemished record being the biggest deterrent for Tommy. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Holly (Tina Majorino), is becoming more involved with him. The tension between the two builds as Tommy discovers the truth about Fabio... Meanwhile, the other fighters pay a visit to "The Castle," which is guarded by "The Enforcer," a hit man working for the mafia.
Sporting an intense and realistic fighting technique, "The Warrior" gives martial artists like Rocky Balboa and Sylvester Stallone another chance to shine. The movie uses its narrative structure to build tension and build its characters' respect for one another. The fights are choreographed with exceptional grace, utilizing jump kicks, spinning punches, knee strikes, elbows, and head butts. The movie is often suspenseful, as the fights are separated into brief segments that rapidly escalate from one to the next. It is often violent, but never gory or gratuitous.
Although it has a somewhat uneven pace, the movie is exciting and engaging. Stallone does a great job of acting in the lead role, earning a Supporting Actor nomination for his work. His martial arts abilities are shown to be true and authentic, as he rips through the gym and hits his mark with surprising ferocity. His overall physical appearance is impressive, and he is able to imbue certain personalities and elements into the various martial arts that he practices. The movie ends with a grand chase scene, which, for action fans, is simply perfect.
In terms of special effects, the movie is largely forgettable. Although some might point out the unrealistic martial arts moves, the movie as a whole is very action-oriented and exciting. However, the movie would be better without the rather over the top stunt sequences and unrealistic set pieces. The final fight between the main characters, against some of the major named villains, is one of the most intense moments in the entire film.
Overall, The Warrior is a good, entertaining movie. It will satisfy those who love martial arts and the military. Those who only see the movie for its boxing sequences may not enjoy it as much. Regardless, the movie lives up to its hype as one of the best martial arts films ever made. It is worth a look, especially if you enjoy fighting sequences.