The Fighter vs Warrior

Let’s get ready to ruuuumbleeeeee!

Warrior and The Fighter are both out now on DVD and are undoubtedly excellent films, but which one is the knockout movie or will they both be saved by the bell?

Let’s weigh up the opponents …

In the Red Corner we have:

The Fighter

Release date: Dec 2010

Lead: Mark Wahlberg  (Micky Ward)

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (Dickie Ward)

Awards: 6 Oscar nominations (2 wins)

In the Blue Corner we have:


Release Date: Sept 2011

Lead: Tom Hardy (Tommy Conlon)

Supporting Actor: Joel Edgerton (Brendan Conlon)

Awards: 1 Oscar nomination

Round 1 – Introduction:

At the start of both films you instantly know that you’ll leave the cinema with a smile on your face. However, they both begin very differently. The Fighter simply opens with Dickie (Bale) training his brother Micky (Walhberg) for a forthcoming boxing match. However, in my opinion, the start is a little slower than I would have liked but its direction is simply stunning, and starts on a lighter note than its opponent.

Warrior throws you straight into the drama. In the first scene, we watch the relationship of a Father (the incredible Nick Nolte) happy to find his estranged son (Hardy) literally sitting on his doorstep. However, Tommy isn’t willing to forgive and forget his Father’s past, and it appears the only reason he’s came to visit him is to tell him how much he despises his old man. So, as Warrior definitely packs a punch from the beginning then it definitely wins the first round.

Round Two – The Emotional Journey:

Both characters have an emotional struggle that ultimately makes compelling viewing. In The Fighter, Micky is struggling to break free from his Mother and Brother’s continuous interference with his boxing matches until he meets Charlene (Amy Adams) who convinces him that he needs to fight for himself and not for his family.

In Warrior, Hardy is struggling to come to terms with the fact that his Mother has died and that his brother (Edgerton) refused to run away with them from his alcoholic Father. He then enters the biggest MMA match in the world to win the cash prize for the wife and child of his friend who was killed in combat.

So, the want and need is there for both characters, but the Warrior definitely offers the blow that will leave a mark the very next day.

Round Three – Family Dynamics:

Do you think your family is complicated? Well, you haven’t seen The Fighter or Warrior then. Try being Micky Ward for a day and having to deal with a brother who can’t get over the fact that he once sucker punched Sugar Ray Leonard. Also, Micky has to deal with his Dickie’s drug taking and overbearing, know-it-all attitude. As well as dealing with a controlling, money-grabbing Mother who tells him has to fight a boxer who is a division bigger than he is. I bet your family look like The Waltons now.

You can’t help but feel for Tommy Conlon in Warrior, though. He was basically left to raise himself after his Mother got cancer and then died. He also can’t forgive his Brother and Father for basically ruining his entire family. He also drives his Father back to drink when he will only view him as his trainer. Things also go from bad to worse when his brother enters the MMA competition and they’re left to battle out their differences in front of the whole world.

The fact that the brothers in Warrior only have about two scenes together in the whole film makes the atmosphere between them tenser, but it also forces you to root for one person more than the other. Therefore, if you’re looking for a film with some genuine brotherly love then you should pick up The Fighter as you see them go on a fantastic journey together.

Round Four – Action:

If you’re the type of person that loves the big fight scenes then Warrior is the film to watch. It’s non-stop action the whole way through. There’s always someone getting punched or those little training sequences which make films like these so appealing.

However, that’s not to say that The Fighter doesn’t have action, but you only really see it at the end. The biggest punches come in the form of the overall story.

Round Five – Acting:

Tom Hardy is undoubtedly one of the best actors in films right now. I don’t care if you disagree with me, it’s a fact. He plays the role of Tommy Conlon beautifully. He’s definitely believable as a silent-but-deadly character, and his role as the bitter, ex-marine draws you in from beginning to end.

Therefore, Mark Wahlberg is an unsatisfactory opponent in comparison. I personally felt that Wahlberg was incredibly wooden throughout the film with his one expression and half-hearted lines – and I’m not surprised that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar like Bale and Leo.

However, maybe he was just overshadowed by supporting actor Christian Bale who played the role a drug addict magnificently. I doubt I’ve ever witnessed such a fantastic performance in another film, and he really did deserve the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as he stole every single scene that he was in.

The supporting actor in Warrior was also really good but was overshadowed by the lead. His story was compelling and he acted well, but his character wasn’t nearly as interesting as Hardy’s and is therefore instantly forgettable.

Round Six – The Parents:

The Father in Warrior, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte), is definitely at the heart of the film and is ultimately what pushes away and brings together the brothers. His vulnerability is gripping and you cannot help but feel for him, even if he was a little bit of a bastard in the past. However, I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of him and know how his relationship with his Brendan panned out, but unfortunately this is a question that was left unanswered.

The Mother in The Fighter, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), is so strong that I’m surprised she didn’t just knock Micky out the way and get in the ring herself. The fact that she refuses to believe that Dickie has a drug problem or that Micky will never be half the fighter his brother was only makes you love and hate her. You can’t help but loathe her when she’s strong but adore her when she’s weak, and I believe that makes her one of the most refreshing characters in film.

Round Seven – Believability:

The Fighter is based on a true story and therefore you become emotionally attached to the characters from the beginning. The life of Micky Ward is both fascinating and inspirational, and the film is without doubt a superb homage to the boxer’s rags to riches tale. Therefore, you believe in the story 110% and it really does give you that warm buzz I love so much once the end credits roll.

I honestly thought that Warrior was based on a true story at the end of the film, which I think shows that it’s an incredibly believable story and I almost wish it was real. Without giving too much away, the final shot in the film is visually stunning and extremely emotive. In fact, it would take someone without a heart to not feel moved. Maybe if Warrior was based on a real story then it would have received more critical acclaim.

Round Eight – Unanswered Questions:

The Fighter answered all my questions. It didn’t leave any big plot holes and everything was summed up pretty much perfectly.

Warrior, however, did leave a few frustrating questions, such as what happened to the dead marine’s wife and child? Why did Tommy visit his Father in the first place? Did Brendan form a relationship with his Father?

Round Nine – Overall Experience:

If you want to see a good drama that’s not too heavy then pick up The Fighter, but if you want a film with a  real punch then opt for Warrior.

And the Winner is …


So what if it leaves some unanswered questions. Who cares if it’s not based on a true story? This film is a good mix of emotion, action and brotherly love and will leave you reaching out for both the tissues and the punch bag.

Words: Lis King

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