Warrior (TV series)
Warrior is an American action-drama television series, executive-produced by Shannon Lee and Justin Lin, that premiered on April 5, 2019, on Cinemax. It is based on an original concept and treatment by Bruce Lee.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||April 5, 2019 –|
Jonathan Tropper was chosen by the executive producers to be the showrunner for the series.
In April 2019, Cinemax renewed the series for a second season.
Set during the Tong Wars in late 1870s San Francisco, California, the series follows Ah Sahm, a martial arts prodigy who immigrates to San Francisco from China, in search of his sister, only to be sold to one of the most powerful tong in Chinatown.
- Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm, A Chinese martial arts expert of partial European ancestry from his white American grandfather, Ah Sahm travels to San Francisco to find his missing sister and ends up being involved in the city's gang wars.
- Olivia Cheng as Ah Toy, a bisexual Madame in charge of the Hop Wei's brothel. She takes an interest with Ah Sahm due to his connections with Mai Ling.
- Jason Tobin as Young Jun, Father Jun's son and heir to the Hop Wei. He becomes fast friends with Ah Sahm.
- Dianne Doan as Mai Ling, the wife of Long Zii, head of the Long Zii Tong. She is actually Ah Sahm's sister, Xiaojing, who ran away from China to the US to escape from her abusive husband Sun Yang, who forced her to marry him to prevent him from killing her brother. As Long Zii's wife, she is the de facto second in command of the Long Zii gang.
- Kieran Bew as Officer "Big Bill" O'Hara, an Irish police officer promoted to lead the Chinatown squad. He is initially racist towards the Chinese, but changes his opinion after meeting Ah Sahm. He used to be friends with Dylan Leary, as both men were Union soldiers during the American Civil War. Due to his gambling problem, he ends up getting in trouble with both the Chinese and Irish gangs.
- Dean Jagger as Dylan Leary, an American Civil War veteran and crime lord of the Irish Mob. He hates the Chinese, whom he blames for taking away jobs meant for the Irish, and will use whatever means to ensure his goals will be met.
- Joanna Vanderham as Penelope Blake, the wife of Mayor Samuel Blake. She and her husband do not get along, as she only married Samuel to gain access to his family's wealth to help her father, Industrialist Byron Mercer. She later falls in love with Ah Sahm after he saved her life.
- Tom Weston-Jones as Richard Lee, a new police officer from Savannah, Georgia. Despite being from the South, Lee believes all races should be treated equally. He is disliked by his Irish colleagues, who are Union veterans, due to his family having fought with the Confederacy. It is later revealed he is wanted in Georgia for killing his two cousins after they tried to rape and then murdered Nora, a black daughter of former slaves and his lover.
- Hoon Lee as Wang Chao, a Black Market arms dealer who works with both the Hop Wei and Long Zii, along with the San Francisco Police. Thanks to his connections, he is free to travel to all of the Tongs territory and even serves as a middleman between them.
- Langley Kirkwood as Walter Buckley, the Deputy Mayor of San Francisco who is secretly working with Mai Ling to start a war between the Hop Wei and Long Zii.
- Christian McKay as Mayor Samuel Blake, the Mayor of San Francisco and Penelope's husband. Despite supporting anti-chinese views to gain the backing of Irish voters, he secretly visits Ah Toy's brothel to be serviced with both male and female chinese prostitutes.
- Perry Yung as Father Jun, leader of the Hop Wei and Young Jun's father.
- Joe Taslim as Li Yong, a Long Zii enforcer and secretly Mai Ling's lover. He's also Ah Sahm's rival in the show.
- Jenny Umbhau as Lai, a peasant girl sold to Ah Toy who has a special skill set. (season 2; recurring season 1)
- Dustin Nguyen as Zing, the new leader of the Fung Hai Tong and Mai Ling's ally. (season 2; recurring season 1)
- Chen Tang as Hong (season 2)
- Céline Buckens as Sophie Mercer (season 2)
- Miranda Raison as Nellie Davenport (season 2)
- Emily Child as Lucy O'Hara, Bill's wife.
- Graham Hopkins as Bryon Mercer, Penelope's father.
- Henry Yuk as Long Zii, the elderly leader of the Long Zii Tong.
- David Butler as Russell Flanagan, the Police Chief of San Francisco.
- Rich Ting as Bolo, a former railroad worker ("coolie") turned underground fighter who was saved by Father Jun.
- Brendan Sean Murray as Jack Damon, an Irish debt collector working for the Fung Hai.
- Kenneth Fok as Jacob, Penelope Blake's man servant.
- Arthur Falko as Twig
- Maria Elena Laas as Rosalita Vega (season 2)
- C.S. Lee as Lu, a former coolie, who became the co-owner of the saloon Ah Sahm and Young Jun take shelter in.
- Erica Wessels as Billie, Lu's wife and co-owner of the saloon.
- Rachel Colwell as Wankeia, a Native-American prostitute Young Jun falls in love with.
- Andrew Stock as Father Flynn, a priest who helps defend the saloon from bandits.
- Christiaan Schoombie as Harlan French, leader of the bandit gang.
- Henry Kwok as Lao Ting, a Chinese businessman who ships people from China.
- Patrick Baladi as Crestwood, an anti-Chinese Senator who seeks to become president.
- James Lew as Sifu Li Qiang, a Kung-Fu master who trained Ah Sahm in his youth.
|No.||Title ||Directed by ||Written by ||Original air date ||U.S. viewers|
|1||"The Itchy Onion"||Assaf Bernstein||Jonathan Tropper||April 5, 2019||0.157|
|2||"There's No China in the Bible"||Loni Peristere||Jonathan Tropper||April 12, 2019||0.114|
|3||"John Chinaman"||Loni Peristere||Adam Targum||April 19, 2019||0.146|
|4||"The White Mountain"||David Petrarca||Kenneth Lin||April 26, 2019||0.147|
|Bill is beaten by Pinkertons led by his old friend, Jack Damon, who were hired by the Fung Hai Tong due to his large gambling debt he owes to the gang and is warned to pay back the debt in three weeks. Ah Sahm and Penelope fall for each other and begin an affair. Lee's opinion on Bill becomes worse due to Bill constant lies and accepting a bribe from Ah Toy to not arrest her girls during a surprise police raid at her brothel. Mai Ling has a meeting with the head of the Fung Hai for an alliance, but he refuses to talk to her due to her gender so Mai Ling kills him by poison. His successor Zing agrees to work with her. As Buckley spreads anti-Chinese propaganda to the press, Mai Ling tells Ah Sahm to go back to China as not only he is a thorn in her plans but there's gonna be war between the Tongs.|
|5||"The Blood and the Shit"||Kevin Tancharoen||Kenneth Lin||May 3, 2019||0.138|
|Ah Sahm and Young Jun transports a dead Chinese body from Grass Valley, Nevada to San Francisco for a proper burial via horse carriage. The stagecoach driver informs the passengers, the horses are weary forcing them to stay the night at a saloon owned by a interracial couple, a former Chinese coolie and his white American wife. During their stay, Young Jun falls in love with Wankeia, the saloon's Native American prostitute, despite the language barrier between the two. The saloon is latter robbed by a gang of cowboys led by Harlan French, but Harlan is forced to flee after Ah Sahm and Young Jun fight and kill his gang. Ah Sahm discovers that the dead body was used by Father Jun to smuggle gold and was Harlan's real target. Knowing that Harlan will want revenge after he brings the rest of his gang, Ah Sahm and Young Jun work together with the saloon owners and the surviving passengers to face them. Later that night, Harlan's gang attack the saloon only to be killed by its defenders. The next morning, Ah Sahm and Young Jun say goodbye to their comrades before returning to San Francisco by horseback.|
|6||"Chewed Up, Spit Out and Stepped On"||David Petrarca||Evan Endicott & Josh Stoddard||May 10, 2019||0.090|
|An assassination attempt by dynamite on Father Jun during a Chinese New Year parade ends up injuring and killing many people, including a white woman. Her death is used by Senator Robert Crestwood, a Chinese Exclusion Act supporter, who hopes to become the next US President and pass harsher laws on the Chinese. Young Jun learns from Chao that the attack on his father was made by the Fung Hai and their new allies, the Long Zii. In retaliation, Young Jun, Ah Sahm and Bolo attack the Fung Hai's casino and sends a warning to the Long Zii. Later, Long Zii has a meeting with Father Jun to apologize for his subordinates actions, offers compensation and peace between their gangs. However, Father Jun will only accept peace in exchange for Long Zii's life. Meanwhile, Bill asks Leary's help in paying his debts to Damon, who agrees but upon learning Damon is working with the Fung Hai, he challenges Damon to a fist fight and brutally beats him to a bloody pulp as punishment for working with the Chinese and forces Bill to kill Damon to protect his family, which leaves Bill traumatized.|
|7||"The Tiger and the Fox"||Lin Oeding||Brad Caleb Kane||May 17, 2019||0.144|
|8||"They Don't Pay Us Enough to Think"||Lin Oeding||Evan Endicott & Josh Stoddard||May 24, 2019||0.105|
|The Chinatown gang war leaves many people dead and injured, forcing Mayor Blake to support Senator Crestwood's anti-Chinese views, much to Bill's displeasure since it means he will be used as a political pawn. Lao Ting of the Chinatown Business Association calls for a meeting between Father Jun and Mai Ling in order to end the war between their gangs with both sides agreeing to settle their difference over a duel between their best fighters which if Hop Wei wins, the status quo between them will return but if the Long Zii wins, they will be allowed to transport opium in their territory. Ah Sahm becomes depressed after Penelope ends their relationship and being chosen by the Hop Wei as their fighter in the upcoming duel, but a stern talking by Ah Toy and Mai Ling begging him to lose convinces him to sober up and start practicing. Meanwhile, real estate mogul Richard Timmons blackmails Ah Toy and her business partner Leonard Patterson over more money to buy land in Spring Valley which she at first agrees but when Timmons ask Patterson to betray her and join him instead, Ah Toy kills Timmons and dumps his body into the sea. Later Ah Toy learns Lai is an expert swordswoman like her as well.|
|9||"Chinese Boxing"||Loni Peristere||Jonathan Tropper||May 31, 2019||0.176|
|The whole of Chinatown witnesses the duel between Li Yong and Ah Sahm over the Tongs Opium trade which ends with Li Yong victorious and Ah Sahm brutally beaten and almost killed but is saved by Bill. As a result, Father Jun honors their deal and allows the Long Zii to trade Opium in their terrority. Mai Ling is elected as the new leader of the Long Zii and kills one of her subordinate who disagrees her leadership. As Ah Sahm recuperates and taken care by Ah Toy and Lai, he remembers his past as a young boy who got into fights after his American grandfather's death until his sister introduces him to Sifu Li Qiang who teaches him Kung Fu. Later, Ah Sahm is visited by Penelope and Young Jun with the latter informing him Ah Sahm is no longer a member of the Hop Wei as failure to win the duel and is not allowed to join another Tong with the threat of death. Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Buckley lies to Byron to increase the Irish gang's anti-Chinese sentiment but claiming he has hired cheaper Chinese workers for the cable car project and Lee is attacked by the Fung Hai in retaliation of Bill attacking one of their debt collectors.|
|10||"If You're Going to Bow, Bow Low"||Loni Peristere||Jonathan Tropper||June 7, 2019||0.117|
In 1971, Bruce Lee had developed a concept for a television series called The Warrior, about a martial artist in the American Old West, but he was having trouble pitching it to Warner Bros. and Paramount. According to Bruce Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, however, Lee's concept was retooled and renamed Kung Fu, with David Carradine cast in the lead role, but Warner Bros. gave Lee no credit. Warner Bros. stated that they had for some time been developing an identical concept, created by two writers and producers, Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander. According to these sources, the reason Lee was not cast was in part because of his ethnicity, but more so because he had a thick accent. In 2015, Perfect Storm Entertainment and Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, announced that the series would be produced and would air on Cinemax, and that filmmaker Justin Lin was chosen to direct the series. Production began on October 22, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa, at Cape Town Film Studios. The first season will contain 10 episodes.
On April 24, 2019, Cinemax renewed the series for a second season.
The show received a good reception from tv critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 77% based on 22 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though it often buckles under the weight of its lofty ambitions and ideological pedigree, Warrior's devil may care attitude provides thrilling energy and action that will please those looking for a period drama with a little kick." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".. Rolling Stone Magazine named Cinemax's Warrior, one of the best new television shows of 2019..
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