Gavin O'Connor, director of the acclaimed Olympic hockey movie Miracle, returns to tell a story unveiling the Christian principles of healing and forgiveness in his second sports-related film, Warrior.
O'Connor takes viewers into the world of mixed martial arts and portrays the notion of fighting in both a physical and spiritual manner. Christian leaders who viewed early screenings of the film have seen a family overcome the devastation of alcoholism on screen and have walked away with powerful testaments.
"I just saw Warrior and it was epic," says Shawn Bolz, senior pastor of Expression 58 Church in Los Angeles. "Even though MMA fighting provides the backdrop, the true battle is the fight for forgiveness and the movie is a strong testament to the power of the family in that fight. I thoroughly recommend this movie; it is one of the best I have ever seen."
Fr. Michael Diaz, pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Oceanside, Calif., notes the several undertones of faith throughout the movie including scenes with a rosary, discussions of Jesus and the conversion of a lead character.
Although MMA is a basis for the film, scriptwriter Anthony Tambakis shares what he feels is its sheer importance: "It was important to us to make a serious pro-marriage, pro-family movie. And therefore we don't shy away from revealing the intense struggle of family life because that's reality and also the key to growth."
“This movie was never about fighting," adds O'Connor. "It's about spiritual warfare, which may not be perceived by the eye but is a powerful reality in our lives nonetheless."
O'Connor has dedicated the film to Charles Lewis, the Christian founder of the prominent MMA clothing line Tapout. Lewis was killed by a drunk driver early in the film's making.
O'Connor hopes the film will inspire audiences to live “warrior lives” by practicing greater love and forgiveness within their own families.
Warrior will open in theaters nationwide on Sept. 9.