Warrior (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Warrior 4KI don’t mean to steal anyone’s thunder so please don’t think that of me here.  However, what I want to do is call attention to a quote on the cover of this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Warrior.  I typically hate these unimaginative one-liners, but this one stands out to me because it’s more than three words and it accurately sums up my opinion of Warrior in a mere tagline.  It simply reads “As Powerful and Unforgettable As Rocky” (Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net).  That’s exactly how my first viewing of Warrior back in 2011 went down.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I recall living up in cold Cleveland, OH and my local Cinemark holding free screenings of this film.  I had no idea what it was and like the ignorant prick I can be towards things I know nothing about I did not take advantage of it.  Around this same time I bought my first Apple TV and for some reason or another Warrior was a free rental one cold weekend.  I thought to myself what do I have to lose.  I hit play and I remember laying there in front of my television never wanting the drama unfolding on the screen to ever end.  That’s exactly how I feel about another legendary sports drama film, Rocky, each and every time I watch it.  Therefore, this announcement of Warrior on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray October 24th left me absolutely speechless in a good way.  Read on to learn more about this 4K catalog release from Lionsgate.

Warrior 4K


Officially speaking Warrior is billed as a sports drama film just like Rocky.  Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant and rumored to be loosely attached to Suicide Squad 2) directs this film that stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two estranged brothers “fighting” for completely different reasons in their lives (set amongst the rising popularity of MMA – mixed-martial arts fighting).  Eventually their lives converge in a huge spectacle,  a mixed martial arts tournament that makes them come to terms with both their lives and each other while the whole nation watches on.  A grumpy Nick Nolte plays the father of the two disparate brothers.  He was actually nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role here.   Jennifer Morrison and Frank Grillo also star, which coincidentally makes this the movie I officially fell for the latter as a bonafide star not to be reckoned with.  Even the gym teacher, Bryan Callen, from one of my favorite ABC sitcoms, The Goldbergs, is in this one as an UFC commentator.

So I mentioned up above these two brothers end up fighting each other in the same MMA ring and here’s how that all goes down.  Tommy (Hardy) is a wanted, ex-Marine who’s haunted by a very tragic past we re-live with him through flashbacks.  He returns home and enlists his father (Nolte), a recovering alcoholic, to assist in training him for an MMA tournament.  It’s not any ordinary MMA event.  Oh no!  This one is going to be awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport.  On the flip side there’s Tommy’s estranged brother Brendan (Edgerton).  He actually is a former MMA fighter.  Life after the sport has not been rewarding for him as he’s unable to provide for his family as a public school teacher.  He fights under the school’s radar to make money on the side.  He also decides to enter this same MMA competition as his brother did.  In doing so he has to recruit the help of his MMA trainer friend (played by the brilliant Frank Grillo).  So there you have it a perfect collision course between two brothers in the ring and psychologically in mind to sort out what caused their separation in life.  You could say there’s a lot more than money on the line here in the brothers’ biggest battle of their lives.

Up above the synopsis of the film I typed sounds so ordinary huh?  The truth is though the way Warrior unfolds onscreen it’s anything but not.  It’s heartbreaking, emotional draining and rousing all at the same time.  I love these sport films where protagonists not only have to rise to the top and be the absolute best they can be, but also face and overcome real life demons, obstacles and flaws.  That makes the Warrior one of the most emotionally satisfying movies I have ever seen despite not even being a UFC fan.  What makes this film even more spectacular is that we are following not one, but two two brothers here.  Everything you want can be found in this perfect film: betrayal, redemption, reconciliation, triumph and unconditional family love.  This movie could have been four hours long and ended the same exact way and I still would be glued to my screen unflinchingly.  The performances throughout touch your heart and enrich your soul.  They are spot on in every which way.  I sound like a broken record, I know I do, but there’s just so much good here and I’m so grateful to Lionsgate for bringing this home to the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format bestowing upon me this treasure now safe and sound in my 4K Ultra HD collection.

I hate to steal yet another quote, but to sum it up I think Roger Ebert said it second best when he declared “this is a rare fight movie in which we don’t want to see either fighter lose.”  You see these brothers are on a collision course with each other.  They have to confront the painful past and tragic forces that tore them apart.  At the same time they are fighting each other, winner takes all so to speak.  They both have very good reasons for what they fight for.  How are you suppose to pick a side in this one?  You see why I love Ebert’s quote so much?  The Warrior packs one hell of an emotional punch to the gut.  If you never seen it, do it yourself a favor and take advantage of this release.  This is also how I know it’s a good flick.  Our own Aaron Neuwirth who’s brutal on his scores ranked this one admirably high with a noble 4 out of 5 score with his review here.  However, before I conclude my gushing over the Warrior, let’s take a look at the reason why you’re really all here…the A/V specs down below.

Warrior 4K


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Lionsgate’s Warrior.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Okay.  I get it.  Not everyone was thrilled with the way the Warrior looked on Blu-ray.  Call it grain.  Call it noise.  Call it what you want.  It ain’t a pretty looking picture two-thirds of the way through.  However, for me, I personally love grain.  I love the cinematic look of movies like this and done right you hardly notice because it’s the story that counts first, right?  This is no Transformers: The Last Knight.  There is a God!  F that movie title!  Seriously.  So yes.  This is a grainy, noisy mess at times.  Although despite all the ugliness of it details are still highly visible like textures such as concrete, bricks, grass, clothing and even engravings in every day objects such as a picture frame.  Human touches like miles and stubble are also noticeable, but not always prominent.  Look!  It is what it is.  It’s a war tale.  Yeah that sounds good. I am sticking to that.  Ha ha.  I will say this though.  If you’re buying this to upgrade your Blu-ray solely in the looks department, well then you may want to rethink that strategy unless you find this at a bargain price.
  • Depth: The depth of field here is average.  You really don’t notice anything of sweepstakes’s until we get to brightly lit environments in Atlantic City and such.  So once again it is what it is here.  It’s a nice uptick over the Blu-ray, but nothing that will get your engines revving over.  It’s kind of flat due to the noise of it all.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are quite deep and dark throughout.  I have zero complaints in the many nighttime shots and later one-third of the film within Atlantic City looks quite exceptional if I don’t say so myself.  It felt like I was watching a PPV event, but not like the Digital HD capture of Rocky Balboa‘s Vegas world of course.  Thanks to the HDR really nothing gets lost in the shadows here.
  • Color Reproduction: The color palette here kind of reminds me of that Disney sports film Invincible, which stars Mark Mark.  It has a very down on your luck, vintage palette to it, but once we step into Atlantic City in the film’s Third Act it’s game on.  Colors are bolder, brighter and in your face.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are all natural and authentically pleasing throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I don’t think I need to restate the obvious here.  There’s NOISE.  I even saw a few white speckles, but most importantly this one looks like film.  Embrace it!

Warrior 4K


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Lionsgate’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warrior.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD compatible), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics: I think the main reason to upgrade to 4K over the Blu-ray here is the Dolby Atmos track.  It starts off quiet like a Rocky movie, but it does gets busy at times with a semi-wide sense of both fidelity and directionality.  Thankfully none of the dialogue ever gets lost in the crossfire.  However, what it all comes down to and the reason for the somewhat lower score that you’re accustomed to from me here is it’s a drama, albeit a very front heavy one at times too.  Come on I’ll show you around.
  • Height: Most of the Atmos channel is filled with ambience and score, but there are rarer moments of usage here such as some obligatory helicopters swirling up above in an Iraq scene as well fireworks exploding in Atlantic City.
  • Low Frequency Extension: I feel like the LFE channel received improvement here over its Blu-ray counterpart as slams to the mat are mighty aggressive.  Other uses of bass I want to make mention of include the above aforementioned exploding fireworks, many hits to the punching bag, the score and more.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Like I said up above this one is very front heavy, but there are times especially within the fight sequences in Atlantic City where you’re literally engulfed within this one.  The rear channels perk up from the score, minor sound effects, kids playing, the hustle and bustle of the MMA gyms, high school bells, train horns, crowds and so much more.  One of my favorite scenes was inside the parking garage where a verbal exchange between Frank Grillo and Edgerton’s character was taking place.  The voices echoed in the rears and it really sounded like this particular conversation was authentically taking place inside an underground parking garage.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog is never loud and obnoxious, but instead clear and intelligible throughout.

Warrior 4K


Lionsgate’s Warrior 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack arrives with both an upgrade on the new format as well as the former Blu-ray extras included on the UHD disc too.  All but one of the former Blu-ray extras, the Full Contact Enhanced Viewing Mode, can be found on the 4K disc.  The 4K UHD Combo Pack also includes access to a Digital HD copy of the theatrical version of the film redeemable in both UltraViolet and iTunes.  Without further ado let’s take a deeper dive and explore all the supplemental features found on both the Blu-ray and 4K UHD discs.

  • Audio Commentary – This feature length audio commentary includes Writer-Director Gavin O’Connor, Cowriter Anthony Tambakis, Editor John Gilroy and Actor Joel Edgerton.
  • Redemption: Bringing Warrior to Life (HD, 32 mins.) – This half hour plus documentary covers such topics as the film’s low budget, rigorous shooting schedule, injuries and even the fight sequences and training regimen itself.  In other words if you’re interested in everything that went in the making of this film, this one’s for you.
  • Philosophy in Combat: Mixed Martial Arts Strategy (HD, 21 mins.) – This featurette sees us siting down with Frank Grillo and trainer Greg Jackson talking all MMA shop.
  • Simply Believe: A Tribute to Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis, Jr. (HD, 4 mins.) – This featurette of stills pays tribute to one of the co-founders of Tap Out, Charles Lewis Jr., who died before principal filming on this film.
  • “Cheap Shots” Gag Reel (HD, 4 mins.) – This one is basically just some pranks, but I gotta be honest with you.  They didn’t really make me laugh.  I mean is pouring water on Frank Grillo’s perfect mane of hair really supposed to elicit a chuckle from me?
  • Brother vs. Brother: Anatomy of the Fight (HD, 12 mins.) – This featurette is pretty cool as it analyzes the film’s final climatic fight complete with storyboards, behind-the-scenes training and more.
  • “The Diner” Deleted Scene (HD, 3 mins.) – Here we have a cut early dinner scenes between the characters played by Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte (with Optional Commentary).
  • Full Contact: Blu-ray Enhanced Viewing Mode (Blu-ray Disc ONLY) – Here we have a somewhat lame In-Depth Original and Personal Look at Warrior with the Cast and Crew of the film.  Think of this as Lionsgate’s poor man attempt at Maximum Movie Mode.  You picking up what I’m dropping?

Warrior 4K


Warrior is a real tear jerker.  It’s an emotional tale of two brothers split in the past and reunited within this tragic tale of betrayal, combat and above all else…love.  Now in a perfect world a Warrior 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release would no doubt get 5-star scores across the board, but I’m sorry to break this news to you ladies and gentlemen.  The key word is “perfect.”  And this world is far from anything remotely perfect.  I’m afraid many viewers of this UHD title will nitpick and complain over the noisy video.  There just aint no way around that.  So I’m treading on the side of caution here with this 4K title.  Would I own this if I had not been given a review copy? The answer is yes.  However, I would wait for a really good price.  Maybe around the $11-12 mark? That way you don’t feel like you were ripped off too bad by the noisy image most of the movie is engulfed within.  It doesn’t bother me, but I know most of today’s generation will be put off by the noise.  It’s not reference, but I’ll take this cinematic look any day over a Digital HD camera shoot.  I’m just saying.  Enjoy!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.



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October 24th




Warrior 4K UHD


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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