Starring Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dunn, Maximiliano Hernandez, Denzel Whitaker and Kurt Angle.
Directed by Gavin O'Connor.
If you put a hundred different writer/director teams into a hundred different rooms and told them to make a movie about mixed martial arts, I believe Gavin O'Connor's team would win.
Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is a family-man/school-teacher whose personal finances are suffering. He was a former UFC fighter, and an upcoming MMA tournament has a $5 million winner-take-all purse attached.
Tommy (Tom Hardy) is an ex-Marine, stalled in life, bitter against his formerly alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) and his brother Brendan. He's also a great fighter and wants to join the tournament.
The family dynamics and father-son issues ring true and run deep, even if it's hitting familiar notes. It hits thems skillfully, where it doesn't even feel like a formula.
Also, the choreography of the matches are fantastic. They're brutal and exciting, and more than once it seems like people are really getting hurt.
It's really a shame this flopped at the box office. It deserves to find new life on DVD.