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Try to imagine a Christian film that features the blood-and-guts world of Mixed Martial Arts.

MMA, of course, combines the hype and show-biz of professional wrestling with the authentic outcomes of professional boxing, with a touch of karate, judo, Thai kick-boxing and plain ol’ street fighting. It’s been a big hit, particularly since the competitors on TV are often apparent amateurs, showing up to fight in surfing shorts.

So, imagine a Hollywood film featuring the intensity of the MMA fighting cage, plus excellent acting, a gripping plot and a subtle Christian message and you’ve got Warrior. 

“Part of my issue with Christian films or films that have Christian elements,” observes Beliefnet’s entertainment editor Evan Derrick, “is that, in terms of quality, they’re almost always terrible. The preachy message part of the film trumps the story and acting and cinematography, leaving Christian audiences with lukewarm feel-good films” that hardly even register on the TV movie-of-the-week quality scale.”

Exceptions, of course, range from The Passion of the Christ to Quo Vadis, The Ten Commandments, The Robe and even The Blind Side.

You can put this film from Lionsgate in the latter category.

“Set within the heart-pounding world of MMA, it actually looks good,” writes Derrick. “Seriously! I’m no fan of mixed martial arts … but I’m actually intrigued.”

The film stars Tom Hardy who you may remember from Inception, Joel Edgerton (Legend of the Guardians) and Nick Nolte — “who’s been in, like, everything,” notes Derrick, “so the cast is nothing to laugh at either.”

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