Chuck Zlotnick

Maybe I wasn't the best person to send to Warrior. I have a photo of Tom Hardy, naked in the shower, as my computer screen saver. Coworkers ask who it is, and I tell them "my boyfriend." I never thought I'd be a crazyhead—a celebrity stalker freak you read about in trash tabloids—but with him, I can't help it. He gives me a girl boner. The cream jeans. I want him to put a sausage in my calzone.

It started with Bronson—the 2008 bio-drama based on Britain's "most notorious prisoner," Michael "Charles Bronson" Peterson, whose violent life behind bars earned him lifetimes in solitary confinement. It's got scene after scene of Hardy, naked, bare-knuckle boxing his way through packs of prison guards. It's all about fists and fury, and Hardy's brutally large trapezius muscles.

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Ever since Bronson, I have been crazyheaded with Netflix. I rent anything with Hardy's name attached. By the time I got to Wuthering Heights, based on ye old as hell novel by Emily Brontë, it hit me. Tom Hardy can act. He's not just giant feather-pillow lips resting atop those oversized trapezii. He's a really good actor.

In Warrior, Hardy is back in fists-and- fury mode. He's the classic tough guy, this time bare-knuckling in a mixed martial arts ring, and ultimately fighting his own brother. Warrior's plot is nothing to hand out little gold statues for; in fact, it's kinda corny-predictable. What makes the ride worth taking is: (1) The fight scenes are perfectly choreographed (people cheered in the theater like they were watching a real match), and (2) all of the actors can act. Aussie man-hunk Joel Edgerton is believable as the father who fights to save his family, Nick Nolte as the alcoholic father made me cry, and Hardy (trapezii bigger than EVER before) totally nails his protagonist brute character—and he makes him human. Being human is a fight I feel like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky never won. I daresay Warrior might even kick Rocky's ass. recommended