Warrior is an American television series created by Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin and based on the figure of Bruce Lee. In Italy it aired on Sky Atlantic starting from 15 July for a total of 10 episodes. The series was, predictably, renewed for a second season. Despite some good ideas and a great cast, the series proves immature and cannot quite convince.
A delicate balance of racism and capitalism
The Warrior story is set in San Francisco in the era of Tong wars, which lasted approximately from 1880 to 1920. These are years of great disorder for the city, with a large immigration from China in search of fortune. The arrival of very low cost labor, called by the Chinese inhabitants themselves "Onions", brings the racial question to exasperation. Where the Secession War is over, capitalism still reaps its victims. So here is the Chinese side and the Irish community on the other, looking for a job for its members increasingly replaced by immigrants. The police stand between these two forces in a desperate attempt to maintain order in the city.
The tensions between the Tong
At the base of the story of the Tong Wars is opium and its sale. As in the most classic underworld films, the main theme is the territory where you can sell your goods. Added to this are unpaid debts, control of a specific area, revenge and attacks. Ah Sahm ends up at the center of all this, an onion looking for his sister who, for her expertise in martial arts, is immediately looked at and contested by the Tong. The risk of facing an ocean voyage to find one's family will reveal itself precisely in finding it.
These two situations of exasperation, Tong against Tong and Chinese against Irish, will be exploited by local politicians for the imminent White House elections. As always in these cases, interesting background will be discovered on the reasons behind the exasperation of conflicts and how there are agreements to make accidents that attract public opinion occur.
An exceptional cast
Although there are no big names in the Chinese television world, this series could well serve as an excellent launching pad for its cast. Each character manages to have his own moment of introspection and deepening, fully exploited and interpreted by the actor. Martial arts are well choreographed, although not presented correctly as it happens in other titles that are based on them. The visual aspect of the same remains however satisfactory.
A special compliment should be made to the actresses of this production, who manage to embody women of power, however, leaving it clear that it was difficult to live in a world different from today's world.
A swinging trend
Some of the main reservations for the series come from its very fluctuating rhythm, which cannot evenly distribute the events in the episodes. We have episodes that are inspired by the Western genre, very beautiful both from the point of view of the director and the dialogues, and of the very slow and preparatory city episodes. At the end of the ten episodes, the series has just begun to enter the heart of the story. Thus, one has the feeling of having witnessed a long introduction, with few really fundamental events.
Is it worth watching Warrior?
Despite the small plot defect just reported, the series is very beautiful and offers different shades of racism that can make the viewer reflect. Recommended also for all lovers of martial arts, because although the series does not focus only on those, they still remain a good sight.