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Warrior Movie 2011

Updated on March 15, 2012

Warrior Movie

Warrior Movie (2011)
Warrior Movie (2011) | Source

Warrior Movie Poster

Warrior Movie 2011 Poster
Warrior Movie 2011 Poster | Source

Warrior Movie Review 2011

Warrior (2011), Rocky mixed with Bloodsport, has taken the classic sporting underdog recipe, doubled the ingredients and turned it on high. In the Warrior movie 2011, a set of brutal MMA fighters are on a collision course, destined to collide at MMA grand prix ‘Sparta’. Unusually for a fighting movie like this, two of the fighters, our protagonists Brendan Conlon and Tommy Reardon, both equally compete for our affections, but there is also the enigmatic Koba who looks as invincible as Drago (Dolph Lundgren) did in Rocky 4.

As with other sports movies, the stakes are high for the characters in the Warrior movie. Just like those other movies, there is plenty of melodrama too. It comes with the territory, and if you don’t like it then you have probably chosen the wrong genre. For realism, perhaps watching actual sports is a better option, except for boxing of course. To enjoy a movie like Warrior, it is best to leave cynicism aside. Most likely audiences will know what happens in the movie before they see it, not just because it follows a clear formula, but because they told us what would happen in the marketing of the film.

As mentioned, a number of fighters are on a collision course to the Sparta final, but one viewing of the trailer tells us who the final two fighters are going to be. One look at the Warrior DVD cover and we know who the victor is going to be. Despite the telegraphing of the storyline, Warrior will still pull you into a figure-four-leg-lock of enjoyment and a sleeper hold of compelling character-based drama, and you’ll refuse to tap out.

Warrior Movie 2011 Blu-ray

Warrior Movie 2011 DVD

Warrior Movie Trailer

If you liked Warrior...

Rocky Movies

Then maybe it's time to watch or revisit the quintessential sports underdog films. The Rocky movies have become the benchmark for the genre.

Check out Rocky Balboa: The Quotes, the Montages. The Best Series of Movies Ever on hubpages or the Rocky Balboa Movies lens.

Warrior Movie: A Wonderfully Acted Sports Underdog Story

For those of us who love underdog sports stories, the Warrior movie (2011) was always going to satisfy. However, it’s the acting on display by the Warrior cast that has elevated to a level beyond being just for sports movie junkies. Joel Edgerton plays Brendan Conlon, who despite being the least charismatic character and fighter in Warrior, is still able to win the audience over. Tom Hardy, surely this generation’s Brando, is the brooding yet compelling Tommy Reardon, Brendan’s brother. Rounding out the three, Nick Nolte is back in form playing a father filled with regret and desperate for forgiveness. A number of his scenes would not look out of place on an Oscar nomination reel. In fact, following the plethora of critics who gave a positive Warrior movie review, Nick Nolte was actually nominated for a best supporting actor Academy Award.

The supporting cast also lifts the whole film. While the stakes are high for the two brothers, they are just as high Brendan’s wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison), who is terrified of her husband getting hurt, especially if it’s just in the pursuit of money. With relatively little screen time, and most of that time spent without pants, Jennifer Morrison plays the role perfectly. Frank Campana is portrayed by Frank Grillo, who is an underrated but pivotal part of the ensemble. His charisma and competence as Brendan’s trainer gives the necessary believability to Conlon’s rise up the fighting ranks. Grillo’s performance is based on legendary but unorthodox MMA trainer Greg Jackson, who he and Edgerton lived with during preparation. Much of their corner dialogue in the Warrior movie 2011 was suggested by Jackson.

The familiar Kevin Dunn plays Brendan’s boss Principal Zito, who is torn between having to execute the rules as the boss but also wanting to see his friend to well. A gristly looking Kurt Angle, the former WWE superstar, Olympic gold medallist and wrestling world champion is impressive as the nonspeaking Koba. A variety of other MMA stars feature as Sparta fighters. Their presence, the performance of the two leads, and the direction and editing of the fights make Warrior one of the best portrayals of MMA on film.

The Warrior movie cast has received acclaim from a number of critics who wrote Warrior movie reviews.

Warrior is directed by Gavin O'Connor who also co-wrote the movie with Cliff Dorfman. In the film O’Connor plays J.J. Riley, Sparta’s promoter who is based on TapouT founder, the late Charles "Mask" Lewis. Lewis was to play Riley himself but was tragically killed by a drunk driver shortly before filming. The Warrior film is dedicated to Lewis after the closing scene.

Anthony Tambakis worked with O’Connor and Dorfman on the Warrior screenplay. O’Connor was also producer; Tambakis and Jamie Marshall were co producers. Executive producers were Jordan Schur, Michael Paseornek, David Mimran, John J. Kelly and Lisa Ellzey.

Warrior Movie Soundtrack 2011

Warrior Soundtrack

Original Music for the Warrior movie is by Mark Isham. He had previously worked with Warrior director Gavin O'Connor on the 2004 Miracle, also a sports movie. Only one of the songs on the Warrior soundtrack, About Today by The National, was not composed by Isham.

While the acting in the Warrior film is what really takes it to the next level, the musical score also plays a big part. It complements all the turmoil, drive and emotion on the screen in sweeping orchestral pieces that sweeps from majestic to haunting. Check out the Warrior Soundtrack hub for more information.

Warrior Movie Review and Analysis

Contains spoilers – but not as many as the film’s marketing...

For a film of its genre, the 2011 Warrior movie is as hard-hitting emotionally as the fighters’ punches. It deals with some powerful themes, including forgiveness, regret, addiction and family. These themes are manifested in a variety of ways, particularly in the relationships between the three leads of the Warrior cast, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) and his two sons Brendan (Joel Edgarton) and Tommy (Tom Hardy). The film has received much praise from critics who have written a Warrior movie review. They have been particularly complimentary of the performances of the Warrior movie cast.

Paddy Conlon is a character racked with regret and desperate for forgiveness that he has no chance of getting. The alcoholic and abusive husband and father he was when the boys were growing up has permanently turned them against him, regardless of the steps he has taken to change and the regret he feels. In fact the only thing the two sons have in common after fourteen years apart is a mutual disregard for their father.

The two brothers appear to be yin and yang. Brendan is clearly the more socially adjusted of the two, but he has also had to fight for everything he’s got. Despite being talented himself, as a child he tried to escape his younger brother’s shadow to get his father’s approval. He then tried unsuccessfully to make a career as a mixed martial arts fighter, but was apparently out of his depth. Forced to give up fighting, he went on to become a physics teacher. That background in physics, his aptitude for taking punishment and the teachings of his trainer all align to put Brendan in the hunt for the title against all odds.

Brendan Conlon is the underdog, and most of the build-up before his first fight focuses on him not being worthy to be in the tournament. In fact, his first opponent, Orlando "Midnight" Lee, is told by his corner man to knock Conlon out because he doesn’t deserve to be there. However, there has never been such a clearer explanation of what a fighter brings to the ring by losing a round since Rocky fought Drago in Rocky 4. Drago was clearly unsettled when he went back to his corner and said “He’s made of Iron” after Rocky took all the punishment Drago had to give and begged for more. Brendan’s first round at Sparta appeared at first glance to show him as being totally out of his depth. He got manhandled and eventually put into a ruthless choke hold 20 seconds before the bell. However, his refusal to tap out seemed to terrify Midnight and actually put Brendan in the driver’s seat leading into the second round.

Brendan’s status as the underdog continues even as he progresses through the tournament, because even though he is winning, the punishment he takes in each fight also puts him on the back foot going into the next fight.

Tommy on the other hand has barely a scratch on him going into the grand final. None of his fights go past the first round, and he doesn’t even seem to get hit in two of the fights. He finished his first fight with one punch. His fights are spectacular to watch though, and the crowd gets behind him due to his ferocious fighting style and because of a YouTube clip giving him a heroic back-story. A Tommy Reardon versus Koba fight would be something to behold, but unfortunately Koba was on the other side of the draw.

Tom Hardy plays a brooding, hulking, seething Tommy Reardon with a fury that is unleashed every time the bell rings. Tommy has had everyone he loves taken away from him and has convinced himself he doesn’t need anyone. Ironically the catharsis he has been chasing in the ring actually comes when he finally accepts defeat. By doing so he forgives his brother and they both show how much they still mean to each other.

Underdog Sports Story Cliché Checklist: from the Warrior Movie

  • Set in a gritty, working-class urban environment, preferably Philadelphia ... check!
  • A main character struggles without the support of his significant other, but he is strengthened when she changes her stance ... check!
  • The hero takes a beating before getting inspired and turning the fight around ... check!
  • Overpowering musical track during the final fight ... check!
  • A seemingly invincible Russian opponent ... check!
  • Training montage ... check!

Warrior Movie 2011 at Amazon

Warrior Cast: The Reardons

Warrior Cast: The Reardons
Warrior Cast: The Reardons | Source

Warrior Cast: Koba

Warrior Cast: Koba
Warrior Cast: Koba | Source

Warrior Movie Action

Warrior Movie 2011: Tommy (Tom Hardy) pummels Mad Dog (Erik Apple)
Warrior Movie 2011: Tommy (Tom Hardy) pummels Mad Dog (Erik Apple) | Source

Warrior Cast

Cast from the 2011 movie, Warrior

  • Brendan Conlon … played by Joel Edgerton
  • Tommy Conlon … played by Tom Hardy
  • Paddy Conlon … played by Nick Nolte
  • Tess Conlon … played by Jennifer Morrison
  • Frank Campana … played by Frank Grillo
  • Principal Zito … played by Kevin Dunn
  • Colt Boyd … played by Maximiliano Hernández
  • Himself … played by Bryan Callen
  • Himself … played by Sam Sheridan
  • Fenroy … played by Fernando Chien
  • Mark Bradford … played by Jake McLaughlin
  • Pilar Fernandez … played by Vanessa Martinez
  • Stephon … played by Denzel Whitaker
  • Tito … played by Carlos Miranda
  • Nash … played by Nick Lehane
  • Koba … played by Kurt Angle
  • Stephon … played by Denzel Whitaker
  • Pete "Mad Dog" Grimes … played by Erik Apple
  • Karl Kruller … played by Nate Marquardt
  • Orlando "Midnight" Lee … played by Anthony "Rumble" Johnson

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Warrior Movie Comments

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    • M A Williams profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks for your comment. I actually liked the ending, but I chose to not judge the Brandon character too harshly. He was only 16 and he chose to stay with the woman who would go on to be his wife and the mother of his children. I'm sure if Tommy had told him about their problems and reached out then Brendon would have done something. Unfortunately he never got in touch.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I hated the ending of this movie. Brendon ran out on his little brother, and left him to years of suffering. Then he gets off by just saying he is sOrry? No justice, no peace. Hated it!


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