Brendan and Tommy Conlon are two estranged brothers of an alcoholic father, both whom have cut ties with. The younger brother, Tommy (Tom Hardy) who is AWOL from the Marine Corps, returns home to his father. Tommy, deeply resentful of his father (Nick Nolte) and brother, begrudgingly seeks his father's help to train for an upcoming MMA Tournament. He makes it clear to his father that he wants nothing to do with him, other than to train him just like he did when he was an up-and- coming high school wrestling champion. Tommy has a lot of skeletons buried deep in his closet, all of which slowly start to come out as the film progresses.
Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is an ex-MMA fighter who is now a family man with a wife, two kids, and surmounting bills to pay. Brendan works as a physics teacher and fights in underground MMA clubs to make ends meet. Brendan finds out about an upcoming MMA Tournament with a five million dollar purse attached to it and decides compete. At his age, everyone thinks it's a bad idea, especially his wife (Jennifer Morrison.) What the two brothers don't realize is that fate will lead them to deal with their past in the ring. The tournament will also force them to come to terms with the relationship with their father.
In recent history, other than "Rocky" (1976) and "The Fighter" (2010), there hasn't been too many good films about boxing with a solid, emotional storyline behind them. "Warrior" is the exception. Action-packed fight scenes and an emotional story line make this an Oscar worthy film. Powerhouse performances by both Hardy and Edgerton make the audience engage in and truly feel what the actors are trying to portray in their roles.
At age 71, a gritty faced, gravely voiced, tough as nails Nolte has delivered the best work of his career. This film would not have been what it was with anyone else playing the role of Paddy Conlon. I would be surprised if a Supporting Role Oscar nod didn't come his way.