Even though I find/found myself critiquing certain aspects of the movie, I can't deny how completely enthralled I was throughout the movie. It's 130 minutes long, but it didn't seem like it. If anything it seemed rushed or trimmed in a couple of areas. If you blink you could miss the training portion and the Segway going into the final fight. Yeah, there's some cliché' elements, but the story build up of the two brothers is enjoyable and does a good job at making us root for both brothers equally (until the last fight when the one brother goes villain).
Predictability isn't always a negative attribute and in this instance it's not and doesn't pretend to not be. The movie instead focuses on the story development of the two brothers giving them both equal development time. So the interest is just watching the story evolve into the inevitable conclusion of the final matchup. What we don't know is, how it will evolve, which brother will win and even which brother we'll be rooting for. At first it seems as though it's a no brainer. The homeless veteran Tommy vs. the brother Brendan with a hot wife who may be losing his home. As it develops though we see Brendan as always being the underdog even in their youth and he's definitely established as the underdog in the arena throughout, so it gives a good balance between the two brothers. The movie kind of overdoes it though, by making the younger brother unforgiving towards the older brother to a degree that doesn't make any sense... his extreme animosity towards his brother, particularly in the final match surpasses anything I could possibly reference.
The biggest annoyance's throughout pertain to the unusually large periods of time dedicated to the unforgiveness scenes. It's like, we get it, your dad did a bunch of nasty crap and you don't forgive him for it and refuse to have a conversation about anything other than training with him, however you showed up at your dad's house only to then not want to talk to him? And to go through an entire training duration without having a conversation with your dad about anything other than training, must be some kind of Guinness record. I would definitely have trimmed the I don't forgive you interaction time from 40 minutes to about 10 minutes (especially since nothing really happens with it anyways) and split the 30 minutes to more training development time and more Segway going into the final fight. Both brothers win their final match before they face each other, then we blink and they're already in the cage fighting one another (5 minutes to be exact). The buildup for their fight at that point should be milked for all it's worth, especially since everyone in the Warrior world just found out that the two finalists are brothers. I don't understand why such a meaty part would be trimmed out or not included in the movie?
1. So, Tommy goes from being a lush and popping pills with no recent training, to beating the ever living crap out of the top middleweight contender in the country? Then he ends up meeting that same guy in the semi finals? If he beat the crap out of that guy without training, we can only imagine how much of a mismatch that's going to be, so why would the movie do this? At the very least they should have made the first match closer.
2. Oh yeah and I love the part where Tommy apparently carries 3 full bottles of pills on him at all times. Not 1, not 2, but 3 and his dad knows that he has exactly 3 bottles on him because he knows the difference between 3 pill bottles rattling over 2 or 1. That's like Sherlock Holmes type crap.
3. At first it seemed a tad farfetched that Brendan (teacher) would get suspended because he chose to partake in organized fighting in his off time. Then I remembered that the department of education isn't logical or consistent when it comes to anything, so I definitely wouldn't put something like that past them.
4. Why did the dad just make it to the fight in the 3rd round. At that point it had been at least a day and a half since he got drunk. It made sense that he missed Tommy's next fight after getting drunk, but why wouldn't he make the start of the brothers fight? Was the start of the fight at the same time as his favorite TV program? How did he know that the fight wouldn't be over at that point? It seems like the movie cut out an important part to the story before the brothers got into the ring together, but if it was more time dedicated to unforgiveness they made the right decision to cut it out.
All in all, I was thoroughly entertained, so even with it's flaws this was a very enjoyable movie.