Tommy Conlon, a brooding drifter (played by a seriously bulked up Tom Hardy) returns to his hometown in the seedy streets of Pittsburgh to attend to the demons of his past, his formerly abusive alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). After a chance fight in the rings of a local gym, Tommy proves his strength and agility in mixed martial arts and decides to take it further and enter into a 5 million dollar tournament. Tommy is unwilling to forgive his father, but he seeks him out as a trainer for the tournament.
Meanwhile on the other side of the tracks, Tommy’s brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a retired UFC fighter, who is striving to provide for his family and live the American Dream, loses his job as a physics teacher and decides to enter the same tournament. However, the brothers are unaware that they are about to take the same path.
It’s the Shakespearean set-up of the century, two brothers going head to head though perhaps the outcome is less expected than usual. The recycled and predictable storyline often convolutes the action of the film, but the fight scene’s are dark, visceral, and mesmerizing.