Earlier this year, a groundbreaking film introduced MMA to an all new audience that had never seen the sport before, or if they had, taken it seriously. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, “Warrior” was the story of two brothers, Tommy and Brendan (played by Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) and their father (Nick Nolte) looking for redemption in the cage, but was truly about the trio coming to a better understanding of who they are and the roles they play in each others lives. Plus, it had Kurt Angle playing a fictional version of Fedor, and that alone was worth the price of admission.
With a budget of $25 million, the film did not come close to making that back in it’s initial theatrical release, and essentially bombed despite rave reviews from critics. Mainstream America was not quite ready for MMA yet, but those who had seen the film were turned to out side of the looking glass. Now, however, “Warrior” has a second chance of redemption too, as the film will be released on DVD later this week.
This will not be an in-depth review of the film since we did that before on the site (and will most likely revisit it more in the very near future), but a close look at the home release of this film from Lionsgate. Any sane MMA fan loved this movie, but is it worth having in your stack of DVD’s, or is this just a decent rental or not even worth owning after seeing it once?
Hit the jump for the full review of the movie, as well as the DVD!
The DVD contains the movie at it’s full-length, along with a good number of special features. Presented in widescreen, you have the additional option of watching the film with audio commentary from Joel Edgerton, and on-camera commentary with Nick Nolte and the filmmakers for selected scenes. I did not have a chance to go through both of these commentaries yet, since this movie is over two hours long and I am only one nerd, but peeking around Edgerton’s commentary has provided plenty of insight into the film, and I am positive that the filmmakers commentary will add even more depth to it.
Let’s take a look at the special features, starting with “Redemption: Bringing ‘Warrior’ to life.” This 30 minute long documentary goes behind the scenes with the actors and filmmakers, breaking down the story and decisions behind the casting, writing, and shooting. For an aspiring filmmaker, they will definitely love this feature, especially since they get to see a lot of the technical end of shooting the movie. It’s very candid in how it approaches this “Making-of” feature, and opens up the viewers to explore every little nuance that happens off camera.
The film had a shooting time of six weeks start to finish, so seeing these producers scramble the way they did to make this film is amazing. I enjoyed seeing how far this behind-the-scenes footage went, including going all the way back to the storyboard phase of the movie. Some of these behind-the-scenes clips you can actually find on Youtube, which the studio released as viral footage when the film was being released. Now, all of these videos are tied together with explanations of what went down, and how things came together in a short amount of time to create “Warrior.”
My favorite parts in the making-of feature was seeing how the fights were developed, and the special feature called “Brother vs Brother: Anatomy of the fight” continued that train of thought. This eleven-minute long feature is a breakdown of the preparatory elements that the actors went to film the final fight in the movie. This includes scene by scene comparisons with the storyboards and rehearsal footage combined with the actual final fight. It is an interesting feature, but it feel short of what I was hoping to see, which was more info on the techniques used to film the scene, and more commentary behind the action. In spite of that, it’s still an enjoyable feature that shows you how much work goes into making just one fight sequence, I just wish there was more of it for all of the scenes.
“Philosophy in Combat” is a 21 minute long feature that has the filmmakers visit Greg Jackson at his gym in New Mexico that goes into the thought process behind fighting. In this video, you will learn more about the training the actors underwent, and thoughts on the fight culture in MMA. The most interesting thing about this feature is hearing Jackson discuss the mental preparations he puts his students through, as well as how much the actor playing the coach in the film mimicked Jackson to play his part. Jackson was the man responsible for the motif of classical music used in the movie, and we learn more about his philosophy on how music and fighting are the same thing.
“Simply Believe” is a short 14-minute feature honoring Charles “Mask” Lewis, the founder of TapouT and the man who was instrumental in pre-production to transforming the film into a more realistic portrayal of MMA. Unfortunately, Mask passed away before the film began filming, and thus the movie was dedicated in his memory. The video features interviews with “Big” John McCarthy, Larry Landless, Greg Jackson, and the co-founders of TapouT, Skyscrape and Punkass, along with the filmmakers. This is the feature that will make you tear up more than the movie itself, and every serious MMA fan will love this and remember just how important Mask was to the growth and success of the sport.
There is one deleted scene shown on this DVD, “The Diner,” which is a three minute long scene with Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy in a diner, which was a prelude to a later scene in the film where Tommy comes to the diner to make training with his father official. It’s a good character development scene, but offers little to the film as a whole, hence being cut from the final version. I do wish there were more deleted scenes in this DVD, but then again, aren’t those usually disappointing anyway? After all, there is a reason they were removed from the final cut.
“Cheap Shots” is the gag reel for the movie, which is four minutes of bloopers and screw-ups during the filming. This is how actors keep sane on set, so consider yourself warned that you will be on the outside looking in from many of these inside jokes, the majority of which are just homosexual jokes. Stay classy, “Warrior,” stay classy.
If you saw “Warrior” in theaters, this is what you have been waiting for. If you missed it during it’s short run, here is your second chance to grab it! I don’t need to tell you how good the movie is, but I can tell you that the special feature are entertaining and informative and will get you as behind the scenes as you can get without being a crew member on the film.
Here is the DVD version:
And here is the Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy combo pack, a much better value: