by Sean O'Connell
Warrior takes on any number of zeitgeisty topics. Mixed-martial arts. Ton Hardy. Military veterans returning from combat situations in the Middle East. But Gavin O’Connor’s masterful MMA movie plucks our heartstrings by adhering to tried-and-true storytelling devices that power the best entries in the sports-movie genre. Estranged brothers fighting to reconcile. An alcoholic father, learning how to be a mentor again. An out-of-work husband struggling to provide for his wife an child. These elements give Warrior added depth, so that when Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tommy Conlon (Hardy) meet in the octagon, we care despite the kicks and punches landed. I don’t give two shits about MMA, but I love the daylights out of Warrior, thanks to those human touches.

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