Two estranged brothers and Mixed Martial Arts fighters confront the forces that tore their family apart as they prepare to do battle in the ring in this drama from director Gavin O'Connor (Pride and Glory). Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) is an ex-Marine from Pittsburgh who's never quite shaken his troubled past. Upon learning that the purse in an upcoming MMA tournament is the largest in the league's history, Tommy recruits his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), a former coach and recovering alcoholic, to whip him into shape in time for the competition. Meanwhile, as Tommy steadily ascends the ranks by defeating one powerful opponent after another, his brother, Brendan, struggles to provide for his family with his job as a public school teacher. A former MMA fighter with a devastating punch, Brendan begins to wonder if he, too, could have a shot at winning the coveted purse. In time, Brendan and Tommy both emerge as dark horse contenders in the competition, setting the two brothers on a brutal collision course. But Tommy and Brendan's biggest battle won't be fought in the ring -- it will be fought in their hearts and minds.~Jason Buchanan
-Brother vs. Brother: Anatomy of the fight
-Cheap shots: Gag reel
-Philosophy in Combat: Mixed martial arts strategy
-Redemption: Bringing Warrior to Life documetary
-Simple believe: A tribute to Charles "Mask" Lewis, Jr.
-The Diner: Deleted scenes with Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte (with optional commentary)
Feature audio commentary with filmmakers and actor Joel Edgerton
Selected scene on-camera commentary with filmmakers and Nick Nolte
What happens when you have two separate underdogs fight each other in a winner-take-all competition? You end up hoping neither one of them will lose. That’s the situation in this thoroughly engrossing mixed martial arts film. Something I never thought I’d say after teen-filled drama Never Back Down released in 2008 that used unlicensed MMA bouts as a backdrop.
Brendan Conlon (played by Joel Edgerton) is a man who gave up fighting professionally for his wife Tess (played by Jennifer Morrison) with whom he now has two daughters. Tommy Riordan (played by Tom Hardy) left home with his mother to escape his father’s abuse and joined the Marines after she passed. Brendan (Edgerton) is now staring at a debt he can’t overcome thanks to his mortgage and goes back to professional fighting in the form of parking lot bouts with inexperienced opponents. And when a video of one of these bouts on the internet is seen by his boss (Kevin Dunn), the principal of the high school where he teaches science, the winner-take-all event is his only hope to avoid foreclosure and relocation. Tommy (Hardy), on the other hand, made a promise to the family of a fallen comrade and intends to keep it no matter what that might mean for his competitors. That includes Brendan who is only revealed to be Tommy’s brother well into the film.
I’m not really a fan of MMA. I had a passing interest in boxing at one time, watching it that is, but it passed. That said, a well-made film can make any sport, with the exception of curling, seem interesting. And while some may see the release of this film as being too soon after the critically-acclaimed 2010 Mark Wahlberg film The Fighter, or as some sort of Rocky rip-off, I see a well-made, well-acted, realistic film about two men determined to fulfill their obligations the best way they know how. In the ring. Not to mention the sympathetic performances put forth by Nick Nolte as the father of the two competitors and Jennifer Morrison as the suffering wife.
Was recommended this movie from a friend. If you like UFC, then this is a definite must watch! Great drama, along with fighting action. Nice storyline. I've watched this movie probably 7 or 8 times already.