If you're like me, you hate sports movies. They're the same predictable storyline every time. Underdog team/person faces unbeatable opponent. Underdog beats unbeatable opponent. Yadda yadda. Sports movies just plain stink.
Okay, not all of them. Rudy is a great movie. I think I like it so much because the climatic moment isn't when Rudy scores the winning touchdown, but when he gets to play for a minute or two and sacks the quarterback. The dude got to live his dream by dressing for a game and getting some play time. It was more about Rudy's hard work and dedication than taking home a trophy.
Hate Remember the Titans. Hate Hoosiers. Hate Miracle. Hate Rocky V. I loved Warrior, though.
Warrior is about two brothers who enter a UFC tournament, for a winner takes all cash prize of 5 million. The movie follows usual sport movie cliches. There are some training montages, there are plenty of doubts whether the protagonists will win.... yadda yadda yadda. But beneath the typical storyline are some great, well-rounded characters, who make you care about their lives outside of the fighting ring.
One brother is an ex-soldier, recently returned from Iraq. He is struggling with his post-war world, and has a lot of anger to deal with. The other brother has a family, and teaches high school physics. His paycheck isn't enough to provide for his family in modern day America. Both have competed in martial arts in the past--one was a champion, the other a mid-lister professional. Neither has communicated with the other for years, and both have major issues with their alcoholic father.
The plot isn't surprising, but I won't give anything away. The mixed martial arts fighting scenes are edge-of-your-seat-exciting, and the acting is top notch. Everything about this film is premium movie making. But you'll want to watch it for the relationship between the brothers and dad. Their struggle to become a family again is the heart of Warrior. The themes of the film are what make it stand out.
A lot of film critics compare it to The Fighter, saying Warrior is a simpler version of the same story. I disagree. The Fighter won all sorts of awards, but it lacked soul. The Fighter went for gritty realism, and is one of the hardest R's I've ever seen for language. Warrior packs twice the punch and keeps the rating an adult PG-13. In my opinion (the only one that counts) Warrior is by far the better of the two, and is one of the best movies of the last five years.
Don't miss seeing this one. It's on dvd now, so stop by a redbox and pick it up. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Maybe, like me, you'll be tearing up by the time the credits roll. Maybe Warrior will be one of the films you remember for a long time. It was that kind of movie for me.