The figure of Bruce Lee is a thing of myth. Born in America but always most often related to the land of his ancestry, Hong Kong, Bruce Lee lived between two worlds and managed to carve his way. The martial artist was also a teacher, philosopher, producer, actor, and filmmaker, all on his own to write. To say that he was multiphased would be an understatement. Sadly, his life was cut short, but his legacy remains decades after his departure. Warrior is part of that legacy, and the series’ quality would make its original creator proud. The show’s third season, which is arriving on Max on June 29th, confirms this is one of the best TV series of the year.
Warrior is a TV series developed by Jonathan Tropper. The series was originally a Cinemax original and ran for two seasons on that network. However, soon after the second season’s release, Cinemax canceled its division for scripted content, so Warrior was canceled along with it.
Thankfully, HBO Max managed to grab the rights and give the series a new home. Now the third season is finally debuting on the newly rebranded Max. Nevertheless, the tumultuous production hurdles have not damaged Warrior even one bit; on the contrary, the show’s third season packs the same level of action and goes even bigger with the personal and external stakes that afflict our characters.
Tropper guides the show in the role of showrunner and stars Andrew Koji, Olivia Cheng, Dianne Doan, Jason Tobin, Kieran Brew, Tom Weston-Jones, Dean Jagger, Langley Kirkwood, Perry Yung, Hoon Lee, and Joe Taslim.
The large cast of characters gets involved in a series of events that shape the district known as Chinatown in San Francisco. The show is filled with impactful action sequences, romance, political intrigue, and even a bit of history. The fact that the show juggles several such characters and still delivers progression to each one of them is truly amazing and quite entertaining.
Warrior came out originally as a show Bruce Lee had in mind to produce before death caught up to him. The original idea was then taken by Tropper and the rest of the filmmaking team and turned into something quite fabulous. Honestly, right out of the gate, I think Warrior is the most underrated show on television. For two seasons, the show has managed to crawl into people’s consciousness and find a new audience thanks to its new home at Max. Season 3 comes charging like a beast to meet the expectations of both old and new fans after such a long wait. The wait was worth it, let me tell you.
The third season follows the events from season 2 and manages to keep the story going logically. If you have seen the end of the season, it is clear that something will happen in the future to our main character, Ah Sahm, played with nuance and strength by Andrew Koji. So, at least when it comes to Ah Sahm’s story, this new season doesn’t really have major surprises. However, this is not to say that this main thread of the season falls flat, not at all. The logical progression of Ah Sahm’s storyline makes everything fit in place, and by the end, the arc works flawlessly and leaves things in a fascinating place for a future season, which we hope will come very soon.
The rest of the arcs work really well, but the surprises and the gasps lie in them. Of course, I won’t mention anything regarding any of these plotlines, but let’s just say that our characters really go through a gauntlet this season, and the events will even make you root for characters you never expected to side with. It is truly an amazing feat in writing, and when those moments came, I couldn’t believe that the writers would make me root for someone I disliked so much in past seasons. But there you go, these characters feel real in ways few other characters feel right now on television.
The series continues to be, of course, focused on the action and the political and emotional struggle between the characters. If you liked that in the past season, here you will find more of it, with the difference that the events from the end of season two have basically changed the status quo, and limiters on some things have been released. This makes each fight and encounter with destiny a lot more dangerous. The choreographers and action doubles do an amazing job. Each fight feels visceral, and towards the end of the season, things really go into some of the most brutal places the show has ever visited. It is pretty awesome.
Chao’s, Lee’s, and Bill’s are particularly exciting arcs. It is great to see a show that is willing to create such a wonderful range of adventures for characters that are secondary but so important when giving the show its special flavor. Bill, especially, has become such an incredible character that you cannot help but give props to Brew’s performance and the amazing writing behind the character. Jason Tobin’s Young Jun also goes through a lot; the actor shines considerably this season. However, towards the end, his character fades a bit, as it falls into the shadow of the one next to him, Ah Sahm.
The production values have not decreased. Recently, many shows have suffered from beginning production during or after the COVID-19 pandemic. The new ways of shooting content have ended up putting restrictions on some of the things that were not even considered before. Thankfully, Season 3 of Warriors feels like the show continuation made in a pre-pandemic world. Everything is there, with many extras, fabulous stages, and sets, including a couple of new places we have never seen before.
This new season also introduces several new characters. To be frank, except for one, none of the new players manage to hold a candle to the ones that came before, but they manage to stir our familiar faces in new directions that only make the series a lot more interesting. It is nice for the show to bring new faces on, but making them feel a bit more relevant would have been even better. Still, thanks to their relationship with our main character, the one that shines feel like a very solid addition to the main roster. It is important to mention that Penny, one of the major characters in the past two seasons, doesn’t appear in this one, and her character is never mentioned again after a throwaway line at the beginning.
Warrior has managed to do what few other series have done: live, die, and resurrect stronger than ever. The stakes are higher, the characters go deeper into their personal issues and those they have with each other, the fights become even more brutal, and we cannot wait to get just a bit more of this wonderful world in a fourth season. If you haven’t seen Warrior, then this is the perfect moment to do it, as the show has never been better than now.