It hardly rewrites the rulebook, but Warrior is a powerful, moving and brilliant sports-pic-cum-family drama. Like "The Fighter," but with kicking.
The Hollywood Reporter
It's a long movie that feels short: It grabs you in early scenes, intense though low-key before all hell breaks loose, then keeps you riveted to its mostly male characters.
O'Connor gives the film a dark, moody look, which is the best choice for so many roiling emotions. This is not a traditional stand-up-and-cheer fight movie; the undercurrents are too strong and deep.
An improbably effective and affecting mix of raw emotions and exciting smackdowns.
Though Warrior excels at the big stuff-fighting sequences and rousing crowds and victories that all but force audiences to stand up and cheer - the film is at its very best in the small moments, the little looks.
Old line-gargler Nolte remains an effortlessly moving presence, while Hardy and Edgerton embody their archetypes and handle the physical demands.
Mostly, Warrior is a showcase for its up-and-coming stars. Edgerton, from last year's "Animal Kingdom," and Hardy, who stole scenes as the identity forger in "Inception."
O'Conner continues to exhibit a deft knack for melding interpersonal drama with athletic competition in ways that, despite his tales' clichés, earn their melodramatic manipulations through genuine empathy for characters' plights.
Warrior is a straight genre picture, a fight movie of the old school. But it's a mixed martial arts tale, and as such, it's the best MMA movie ever.
Yet it still works like gangbusters - tears will be stifled by the end of the sibling vs. sibling finale - and most of the credit should go to Hardy, Nolte and Edgerton.