'Warrior': How Bruce Lee's Fighting Style Inspired the New Cinemax Series

John Russell
Preview Cinemax/HBO

The newest adrenaline-fueled drama to hit Cinemax takes a page from the legendary Bruce Lee. Inspired by the late actor and martial artist's writings, Warrior follows immigrant Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji), who becomes ensnared in the vicious Tong Wars — violent clashes between rival Chinese crime organizations — that rocked San Francisco in the 19th century.

Unsurprisingly, the show (from Banshee cocreator Jonathan Tropper and exec produced by the Fast and Furious franchise's Justin Lin) features some stunning action scenes. Stunt and fight coordinator Brett Chan, whose credits include Netflix's Marco Polo, describes the rough stuff as gritty and energetic.

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The actress, who plays Lance Cpl. Gracie Novin, also previews the show's newest character.

"Each character has a unique style formed for their specific personalities," he notes. For Ah Sahm, that means embracing Lee's hybrid style, adapting and combining moves from different martial arts so he can adjust to any situation as the Hop Wei Tong’s new hatchet man.

An international team of trainers (from China, Korea, Germany, the U.S., Canada and South Africa) got the cast into fighting shape — Koji executes kick-ups, backflips and other eye-popping moves with no camera tricks or movie magic. "It was all on the backs of our great actors," Chan says. "Andrew has a stunt double, but he does 99.5 percent of all his action."

Warrior, Series Premiere, Friday, April 5, 10/9c, Cinemax