There are likely some cynics out there that might say that one martial arts show is like any other, and while they’re entitled to their opinion they are quite wrong since a lot of of them do have a lot of similar traits, but they’re all unique enough in their own right that they deserve some attention. This one in particular, Warrior, is one of those that might be better off becoming known largely because it’s the culmination of new era technology with a story idea that’s been sitting for quite some time in the belongings of the Lee family, Bruce Lee to be exact. While the story is that his original idea for a TV show was eventually turned into Kung Fu starring David Carradine, Warrior is the realization of the story that he was wanting to tell, and star in no less, but never had the chance to see come to fruition. Warrior has been around for a couple of seasons now but was featured on Cinemax, which folded up its tents fairly early, but since the show has come to HBO Max it’s been gaining more attention and has become once again the type of show that people are wanting to watch as the crime drama continues to unfold as a Chinese individual comes to San Francisco in the late 1800s and finds himself right in the middle of the Tong Wars.
Just in case people need a refresher course on the tongs, these were actual groups that were formed in the Chinatowns of many different cities with the express purpose of gathering those that needed safety in numbers and shared a philosophy or at least desire to belong to a group that would take care of them rather than risk life in a big city on their own. Much like many other gangs, the tongs would take on their own group name and they would seek to protect their members, forming their own small societies that would have their own set of rules even if they would follow the laws of the land to get by. In short, tongs were another type of gang that were prominent in America at one time, and while their initial purpose, like many gangs, were to keep their people safe, there was without a doubt a criminal element in many tongs that would operate with or without the knowledge and permission of those that were in the same tong. Unfortunately, it was also possible for a person to belong to multiple tongs, meaning that their loyalties were divided and the loyalties they enjoyed were divided as well. This made it far too easy to wage war if one person was harmed or killed, but the Tong Wars were a confusing time that ran from 1880 to 1913, roughly, and were multifaceted. What this means is that the Tong Wars were a series of conflicts that could have been over just about anything, and as a result it makes for a perfect plot for a TV show since over three decades of unrest could allow for several seasons to play out and possibly show some sort of accuracy that could be thrust into the midst of the action while telling the story of several key characters, the main one being the fellow that was mentioned in the first paragraph.
What’s even better is that by watching just a bit of the show one can see the influence that Bruce Lee has already had upon this show and the manner in which his style and his very look have been utilized in order to make this show even better. To say that it’s worth watching isn’t even close to being enough, but instead of waxing on and on it would be best just to head on over to HBO Max, sign up for a free trial, and see what it’s all about. Those who want action will see it, those that want a story will get it, and you’ll be thanking yourself that you did since it’s not often that we get a TV show that has both in equal measures and is worth the effort of watching all the way through. There are plenty of martial arts movies that take place in various time periods, but some reason those that take place back in the early days of America pack a certain punch that the modern movies don’t always have. Perhaps it’s the time period, the overall feeling of how different the country was back then, or something else, but while it’s not all as realistic as it can get, plenty of the story is far more down to earth than it could be, and it helps immensely since otherwise it might as well be just another martial arts show, unique but not particularly interesting. It’s worth a watch if you’ve got the time.