Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is hotter than ever right now and it was inevitable that a film about the sport would come to the masses.


What better timing than a year after the releases of the highly acclaimed films "The Fighter" and "Karate Kid" (remake). Both of those films were very successful ("The Fighter" - $93 million, "Karate Kid" - $176 million) you knew Hollywood was itching to cah in on the MMA audience.


Keeping that in mind, you have already seen this movie. You know the outcome before you can get comfortable in your theater seat. There are no surprises.

"Warrior" is therefore about the journey to that end more than the end. Then once we reach the end our only concern is how well it will be executed by director Gavin O'Connor ("Pride and Glory").


Joel Edgerton plays Brendan Conlon, a high school physics teacher with a family who is having a hard time making ends meet on teachers pay. So, he enters a playground MMA streetfighter match and, though he wins, he gets tattooed pretty well. His gets outted on You Tube which results in his suspension from the school.


His lovely wife (played by Jennifer Morrison) finds out and is pissed. But he needs the money to make house payments.


Elsewhere we have Tommy, a strange ex-marine from the Afghan War who pummels a serious MMA fighter named 'Mad Dog' Grimes (Erik Apple) in a similar playlot streetfight. He now has decided to also fight competitively for an undetermined dark reason.

Brendon seeks out his old friend Frank Campana (Frank Grillo) who happens to be one of the top MMA trainers while Tommy seeks out his drunken estranged father Paddy (Nick Nolte) who once fought for a living.


Now begins the odyssey of Tommy and Brendan as the prepare for the winner-take-all Sparta tournement in Atlantic City.


We get in-sight to Tommy's screwed up life as well as a peek into Paddy's background as a drunken father. We learn how the students love Brendan and are thoroughly impressed that he is an MMA fighter.


But more importantly we learn that Tommy and Brendan are brothers with equal disdain for their father. After that we can sit for the end... the pay off.


Nolte has the drunken routine down pat; it's a carry-over from his Oscar nominated role in "Affliction". Tom Hardy is a beast, we saw that in "Bronson" - he looks the part. Edgerton is the iffy part. His believability depends on how gullible you are.


"Warrior" is a one part "The Fighter", one part "Rocky" and two parts "Karate Kid". It's a bunch of hogwash, but a lot of fun to watch and well executed.   -- GEOFF BURTON