MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is one of those sports that most of us are aware of but probably don’t watch on a regular basis. It’s brutal, less mainstream than boxing, and much more real than wrestling. Which sounds like perfect fodder for a movie. Step forward Warrior, which opens this weekend.
MTV Movies asked stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton whether they shared the positive vibe about the movie being felt by most critics who have seen it, even the cynical one. First Hardy and then Edgerton answered in the affirmative, saying:
“Yes, I can actually. And that’s a testament to Gavin O’Connor and Antony Tambakis for writing a great movie.”
“Absolutely. [You get it] from both men and women and all age groups, you definitely feel that. And to me, all good filmmaking comes down to taste. If there’s a good taste put into every decision in terms of music and costume and the way something is shot and the words that are put on the page. There are so many decisions that go into making a movie and any bad decision can steer the ship in the wrong direction. It’s really rare when all of the decisions amount to a really good journey that works, and we’re very lucky to be a part of it.”
Director Gavin O’Connor then spoke about his new-found love for MMA and how much he appreciates the community opening up to him, saying:
“The preconceptions of this movie are, ‘Oh, it’s mixed martial arts; I don’t want to see it,’ because on paper [it may seem like one thing], but there’s a real artistry to the sport. There’s an athleticism to the sport that is at the highest level, and there is a spirituality to the sport that I hope I captured because I recognized it, I felt it. … In a way, the movie is not a fighting movie. It’s not a MMA movie but for that part of the film, for me, it’s a love letter to those guys and the sport.”
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed there being a spirituality to Mixed Martial Arts, but I’ll take O’Connor’s word for it. Perhaps Warrior will allow me to see another side to the sport than I’m used to, which is, I guess, what O’Connor was going for.
Warrior opens tomorrow (Sept. 9) in North America, and by all accounts it’s well worth a watch.