When it comes to martial arts and the cultural richness of the East, no one has been a more appropriate and sophisticated harbinger than Bruce Lee. Born on November 27, 1940 at the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco's Chinatown, in the hour and the year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac, Bruce Lee's legacy is one of its kind.
Cinemax is now set to back the glory days of martial arts. Its upcoming 10-part series 'Warrior', which is based on Lee's writings, is a tribute to the man who not only brought martial arts to the common American household, and retained its authenticity even when it was simultaneously being popularized and vulgarized through cinema.
Ahead of the show's premiere on Cinemax, here's everything you need to know:
You might want to set a reminder for April 5 as 'Warrior' season one, episode one will premiere on Cinemax.
Based the writings of Bruce Lee, you can expect an action-packed story, but there is a lot more to 'Warrior' than just stylized fights.
Set in Chinatown in the late 1800s, the show will follow the Tong Wars, a series of violent disputes beginning in the 1880s among rival Chinese tong factions in the Chinatowns of various American cities, particularly San Francisco. The disputes saw rival crime families battle for territory and control.
At the center of it all is Ah Sahm, a newcomer from China whose skill in martial arts makes him a valuable part of one family’s ongoing struggle for power and influence.
The cast is both exotic and romantic. British actor Andrew Julian Hiroaki Koji stars as the protagonist Ah Sahm. Koji is known for his dreamy eyes and might just bring a glimpse of his 'Call the Midwife' charm in the show as he gets caught up in the Tong Wars. Koji has also starred in 'The Innocents' and 'The Wrong Man'.
Along with Koji, we will also get to see the delightful Olivia Cheng, who had given a tremendous performance as Linda Park in 'The Flash'. Cheng will join the show as a series regular where she will play the role of Ah Toy, a Cantonese-born American prostitute and madam in San Francisco, California, during the California Gold Rush.
The show will also see 'The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift' actor Jason Tobin who is set to play the character Young Jun, the hard-partying son of a powerful tong boss. Tobin seems to be the perfect face for the role as we have already seen him take up a similar role in 'Tokyo Drift'.
The cast also includes Dianne Doan as Mai Ling—a beautiful and ruthless Chinese woman who, through sheer force of will, has achieved a position of power in one of the tongs; Kieran Bew as Officer “Big Bill” O’Hara—a hard-drinking Irish cop charged with forming a Chinatown squad; and Dean Jagger as Dan Leary—the unofficial godfather of the Irish community of San Francisco and leader of the Workingmen’s party.
It comes as no surprise that 'Fast and the Furious' franchise stalwart Justin Lin is an executive producer on the series, as is Jonathan Tropper, the former boss and co-creator of the erstwhile Cinemax show 'Banshee'.
In fact, Tropper has written the pilot script based on original material written by Bruce Lee. However, it is Assaf Bernstein (Netflix’s 'Fauda') who has directed the pilot.
“We have assembled a cast of incredible actors from all over the world including our talented lead, Andrew Koji, an exciting discovery out of the UK. I’m also thrilled to be re-teaming with Joe Taslim and Jason Tobin,” Lin said.
Where to watch
'Warrior' will premiere on Cinemax as announced in 2015 by Perfect Storm Entertainment and Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee.
However, before 'Warrior' blows your mind, you might want to grab some popcorn and brush up your martial arts with some of the best films in the genre. You should check out 'The Legend of Bruce Lee' (2008), 'Spirit of the Dragon' (1992), 'Enter the Dragon' (1973), 'Circle of Iron' (1979), and finally 'I am Bruce Lee' (2012).
In the trailer for 'Warrior', Koji shows off some of his smooth martial arts moves. The trailer itself proves that, even though the show is based sometime in late 19th Century, it is modern in its apprach and will probably reintroduce the same adrenaline rush that we have all felt while watching Bruce Lee move like water.