In A Nutshell:
Former wrestling prodigy and ex-marine Tommy Conlon (played by Tom Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years and decides to enter the biggest mixed martial arts event in history, SPARTA. He enlists the help of his father (played by Nick Nolte) whom he hasn't talked to in a long time (and still doesn't like) to train him for the event. At the same time, Tommy's brother, Brendan (played by Joel Edgerton) whom he also hasn't met in along time also enters SPARTA in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin.
+ Incredible performance from the main actors involved
+ the family conflict between father and both brothers are emotionally engaging while the characters have plenty of depth and richness
+ Tommy Conlon at SPARTA is reminiscent of Bill Goldberg's debut in WCW
+ MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is currently one of the hottest sports around
- quite a few sport movie cliches
- hard to believe it took people so long to discover Tommy's background
The Verdict Is In:
As a male member of the species, I always find something very compelling about fight scenes. Blame it on testosterone if you will, but us guys always enjoy viewing a good fight-sport. In recent years though I can't help but feeling a certain void. You see, although I still love fight-sports movies like Rocky and those old Karate Kid features, there's a sense that they're pretty dated for this era. Nobody watches any real karate or Taekwando matches, while real Boxing has lost its appeal significantly. WWE? Yeah CM Punk has bought back some excitement recently but its still largely PG (no thanks to a certain John Cena).
Nowadays MMA seems to have filled that adrenaline void for me, so its very fitting that a movie (a good one at least) is being made about it. The fights are awesome but the best and main aspect of the movie is the emotional drama created by the family conflicts. This is helped by the fact that the 3 main actors (Hardy, Edgerton, Nolte) gives superb performances and must be considered contenders for awards season.
Owh, also as a wrestling fan its fun to see one of my all-time favorites, Kurt Angle have a role in the movie and also the similarities of Tommy's character to Goldberg's debut in WCW (background mystery-no fuss entry-short impact matches-leaves quickly).
9 out of 10