Awaken, an Action Thriller

AWAKEN Boxart

 

An intriguing film with a lot of action, Awaken takes their idea from the pages of the news media and adds a Hollywood makeover and storyline. The movie has a good cast and the cameras offer a treat with panoramic views and close-ups of all the action. Turning up the energy, performances from Vinnie Jones, Jason London and Natalie Burn change the ordinary into exciting. The award winning film is now on DVD for home viewing. Read more

WARRIOR, A WINNER

This is one of those long films that have a lot to say before it gets into the action it has been promoting.  Warrior depends on its inspirational message to keep the audience entertained while they wait for the fierce fighting that makes this movie a winner.

 

Much like The Fighter, last years Oscar nominated film, the movie pits two brothers against each other in a battle of pride, redemption and anguish over their past relationships with family.  Here however, we find the two Tommy (Tom Hardy) now an ex-marine and Brendan (Joel Edgerton) now a teacher at odds with each other due to an incident that happened when they were young involving their father Paddy (Nick Nolte) who coached them as wrestlers.

 

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star in WARRIOR

The story opens with Tommy coming home after being embarrassed in the Marine Corps for misconduct.  His main reason is to enlist his father’s help in winning a ‘winner takes all’ mixed martial arts tournament called Sparta. Surprised by his return Paddy tries to reconcile, but the only way Tommy will accept him is if he trains him for Sparta.  When Brendan gets to word that Paddy is training Tommy he enters Sparta.

 

The acting here is very good and both Hardy and Edgerton fit the mold of two brothers at odds with each other and are fit to enter the ring.  Director Gavin O’Connor (Miracle) takes the men to their limits in both a physical and psychological way.  The final confrontation between the two ranks high in the film world with Raging Bull, The Fighter and Rocky.

Nick Nolte stars as Paddy in WARRIOR

 

But the star of the film comes from an outstanding performance by Nick Nolte as the father who has to make an unpopular decision in order to save his family.  As a recovering alcoholic Nolte’s Paddy finds himself in a pressure situation to which most alcoholics would succumb.  Trying to overcome the past and make things right Paddy tries to reconcile but finally has to decide between his two sons.  It’s a gut wrencher of a role and Nolte pulls it off.  Look for an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actor for Nolte.

 

Good cinematography, sound and choreography are paramount to the final fight and Masanobu Takayanagi (Babel) camera, Ben Wilkins (Final Destination 5) sound editor, J. J. Perry (Haywire) stunt coordinator, work in tandem to produce an amazing explosive martial arts battle.

 

Warrior is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material.  The film spans 2 hours and 19 minutes so you may want to bring along a cushion.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good production with a cringing story. (B)