Rated 3.0

Two estranged brothers (Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton) enter a martial arts tournament with a multi-million-dollar winner-take-all purse; naturally, they wind up facing each other in the final match, while their father, estranged from them both (Nick Nolte), looks on with belated pride, unsure which one to root for. Written by Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorman and director Gavin O’Connor, the movie is at once relentless, riveting and repellent. The melodrama of the family conflict is unsubtle, but it comes at us obliquely in hints and allusions. The fights, on the other hand, hit us right between the eyes, every blow etched in loving detail by O’Connor and cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi. The movie’s not about fathers, sons, or brothers—all that stuff is beside the point. The real point is the fighting.