Warrior season 2, episode 9 has numerous references to the legendary Bruce Lee. Based on a concept originally developed by Lee himself, Warrior is equal parts Western and martial arts in its story of Chinese immigrant Ah Sahm, played by Andrew Koji, arriving in San Francisco during the Tong Wars.
Beginning on Cinemax in 2019, Warrior is definitely something that any Bruce Lee fan will want to give a look. But despite originating from Lee’s mind, Warrior has largely avoided emphasizing that aspect of the show in its story as well as in Koji’s portrayal of Ah Sahm. That isn’t to say that references and Easter eggs to Lee’s filmography and persona haven’t been seen at all, but Warrior has also been careful about where it’s integrated them into the show, and with how often it’s done so.
However, Warrior season 2’s penultimate episode takes the gloves off like the show rarely has to be the most clear-cut Bruce Lee tribute the series has presented to date. Here are the Bruce Lee references in Warrior season 2, episode 9.
The episode’s title, “Enter the Dragon”, is lifted directly from Bruce Lee’s 1973 movie of the same name. One of the most beloved martial arts films of all time, Enter the Dragon was released just weeks after Lee’s passing in 1973, and made him an instant legend around the world. Season 2 had previously titled an episode “The Chinese Connection”, in reference to the American title of Lee’s movie Fist of Fury. However, this reference goes a little deeper with the time of this particular episode.
Warrior season 2, episode 9’s air date of November 20, 2020 is also Bruce Lee’s 80th birthday. Paired with the title itself already being as clear of a Bruce Lee reference as there could be, Warrior is sending the message that “Enter the Dragon” will be a major tribute to the man who first thought the show up decades ago. Moreover, when the episode arrives at possibly the biggest action scene the show has ever delivered, it breaks out another unmistakable Bruce Lee reference.
During the episode’s chaotic gang war in the streets of San Francisco, Ah Sahm gets hold of a pair of nunchuku that he uses against numerous opponents in the fight. The nunchuku are a well-known weapon of martial arts, but it was Bruce Lee who made them famous around the world, putting them to use in many fight scenes. Lee was always an electrifying presence on-screen, but every time he broke out a pair of nunchuku, it inevitably intensified the battle unfolding, and Ah Sahm using them into the major action of “Enter the Dragon” acknowledges just how closely they are associated with Bruce Lee in the craziest martial arts battle Warrior has delivered yet.