HBO MAX is now streaming Seasons 1 and 2 of “Warrior,” based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
Filmed in Capetown, South Africa, “Warrior” was produced for CINEMAX by Perfect Storm Entertainment, Tropper Ink Productions and Bruce Lee Entertainment; created and executive produced by Jonathan Tropper. Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow executive produce on behalf of Perfect Storm Entertainment. Shannon Lee executive produces for Bruce Lee Entertainment. Executive produced by Brad Kane and co-executive produced by Richard Sharkey. The pilot was directed and executive produced by Assaf Bernstein.
“Warrior” is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century during the time of the Old West. The series follows Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), a martial arts prodigy who emigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances. After proving his worth as a fighter, Ah Sahm becomes a hatchet man for the Hop Wei, one of Chinatown’s most powerful tongs (Chinese organized crime family).
Befriended by Wang Chao (Hoon Lee), a fixer and profiteer in Chinatown, Ah Sahm is taken under the wing of Young Jun (Jason Tobin), the hard-partying son of the Hop Wei’s leader, Father Jun (Perry Yung), who is facing an imminent opium war with a rival tong. As he is indoctrinated in the rules of Chinatown gangs, Ah Sahm wins the confidence of a canny brothel madam, Ah Toy (Olivia Cheng), revealing to her the true intentions of his journey to America.
Over the course of the season, Ah Sahm crosses boundaries inside and outside Chinatown, bringing him into contact with tong rivals Mai Ling (Dianne Doan), a beautiful and ruthless Chinese woman who has achieved a position of power in one of the tongs, and Li Yong (Joe Taslim), a tong lieutenant and Gung Fu master. As violence erupts, Sergeant “Big Bill” O’Hara (Kieran Bew) and Richard Henry Lee (Tom Weston-Jones), a transplanted southerner and rookie cop, are tasked with forming a Chinatown squad.
Meanwhile, working-class leader and tough Irishman Dylan Leary (Dean Jagger) is fighting for all Irish laborers by trying to inflict as much damage as possible on the Chinese immigrants he says are stealing their jobs. Amidst the strife, power-hungry San Francisco Mayor Samuel Blake (Christian McKay) and Deputy Mayor Walter Buckley (Langley Kirkwood), who has his own political aspirations, engage in widespread corruption, while the mayor’s young wife, Penny (Joanna Vanderham), finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage. Season two follows rival Chinatown Tongs as they fight for dominance amidst the growing anti-Chinese fervor that threatens to destroy them all.
Starring Andrew Koji (“Fast & Furious 6”) as martial arts prodigy Ah Sahm, WARRIOR also features series regulars Kieran Bew (“The Street”), Celine Buckens (“War Horse”), Olivia Cheng (“Marco Polo”), Dianne Doan (“Vikings”), Dean Jagger (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Langley Kirkwood (“Invictus”), Hoon Lee (CINEMAX’s “Banshee”), Christian McKay (“Me and Orson Welles”), Joe Taslim (“A Night Comes For Us”), Jason Tobin (“The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift”), Joanna Vanderham (“The Paradise”), Tom Weston-Jones (“Copper”), Perry Yung (CINEMAX’s “The Knick”) and Henry Yuk as Long Zii.
Season two series regulars include Dustin Nguyen (also directing episode 6; “21 Jump Street”), Chen Tang (“Mulan”), Miranda Raison (“Artemis Fowl”) and recurring series regular Maria Elena Laas (“Vida”).
On New Year’s Day, Justin Lin posted on Instagram:
“Six years ago, Shannon Lee shared with me an eight page treatment by her late father Bruce Lee about a show called “Warrior,” along with notes and sketches from his personal diary. Together, we committed to bringing those pages to life. I still consider that moment to be one of the highlights of my career.
Like all worthwhile journeys the one with “Warrior” has been filled with stories of overcoming obstacles. When we were told recreating 1800’s San Francisco with our budget was impossible, we found a studio and an amazing crew in South Africa whose craftsmanship is one of the highlights of the show. In Jonathan Tropper, we not only found the perfect creative partner but an amazing storyteller who had a natural connection with Bruce Lee’s vision and his relentless push to challenge every convention. And after almost a year’s search, we were lucky to be joined by a group of one of the most talented and committed casts I’ve ever worked with. 50 years after Bruce Lee conceived the idea, I think we made a show he would be proud of.
The reason I’m writing this is that we need your help with our last obstacle. Though we were able to complete two seasons of WARRIOR, the network it was on will no longer be producing original content.
The good news is that “Warrior” is now available on @hbomax and on all @hbo platforms. All I’m asking is for you to share some time with us. Check out the show. It’s an immersive world filled with compelling characters and powerful stories. If you’re a fan of action or the martial arts genre, you’ll definitely enjoy it. And if you like it, please share with friends and on social media. That’s it.
Right now there are no plans for season 3 and beyond, but speaking for everyone on the “Warrior” creative team, we still have a lot more stories to tell.
Our goal is to keep building our community and if enough people share our passion, we’ll be able to keep our journey and Bruce Lee’s vision alive and thriving.”
UASE Interview with Perry Yung and Henry Yuk
Ric Meyers moderated an interview featuring Perry Yung (Father Jun) and Henry Yuk (Long Zii) who star as the 2 leaders of the rival Chinatown gangs, The Hop Wei and Long Zii at the Urban Action Showcase and Expo in New York in 2019.
Perry Yung is an actor and musician who works in experimental theater and commercial television and film. He is also a traditionally trained Japanese shakuhachi bamboo flute craftsman who leads flute making mediation workshops in zen monasteries across America. Since 2009, he has been producing La Mama’s Family Playdate Series to show the importance of acknowledging and embracing heritage. Perry has been a member of La Mama’s Great Jones’ Repertory group since 1993 and is a founding member of the SLANT Performance Group. He can be seen on HBO/Cinemax’s WARRIOR tv series based on original writing by Bruce Lee. He was fan favorite Ping Wu on Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick” and has guest starred on “Gotham,” “The Blacklist,” “Blue Bloods”… to name a few. Principle roles in films include Condemned, Jade Pendant and John Wick: Chapter 2.
Henry Yuk is a native New Yorker from Brooklyn, and has worked extensively with Pan Asian Rep (including Yellow Fever, Teahouse, Yellow is My Favorite Color, as well as with NAATCO (The Cherry Orchard, You Can’t Take It With You, Awake and Sing!) and Ma-Yi Theatre Co. (The Square, No Foreigners Beyond This Point). His film work includes Brooklyn Lobster (with Danny Aiello), Kundun (directed by Martin Scorsese) and the cult classic, The Last Dragon. His TV work includes “The Sopranos,” “Cosby,” various “Law and Order” episodes. He most recently appeared as Yang in Marvel’s “Iron Fist” and as Long Zii in “Warrior” on Cinemax. www.henryyuk.com.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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