The movie is so skillfully made, and the performances are so convincingly real (Hardy is sensational), that, as it reaches its cathartic, winning finish, it achieves a surprising compassion and honesty.
It's also a fight movie that knows all the fight movie cliches and doesn't shy away from embracing them wholeheartedly. But it hits its marks and hits them well, and feels fresh even as it traffics so deeply in the familiar.
Hardy is as good an actor as there is working today; his intensity here is amazing. Nolte hasn't been this good in a long time. And Edgerton holds his own with both.
Skillfully made and adrenalin-fueled, Warrior is nothing like what I expected. It overcomes inescapable boxing and martial arts cliches and leaves you thoroughly sated, energized and wanting more.