Netflix viewers can’t get enough of Max’s cancelled Warrior martial arts series

(Image credit: Cinemax)

Like its titular hero, Warrior appears to be extremely hard to kill: it was cancelled after two seasons by Cinemax back in 2020, saved by Warner Bros. Discovery and then cancelled again in 2023 after its third season. But it looks like three times is the charm for this action/crime/drama: the show has rocketed into the top ten shows in its first week streaming on Netflix

Season one of Warrior is currently sitting at number eight in Netflix's English-speaking TV chart, with 1.7 million views and 14.1 million viewing hours already. And if you haven't heard of it, you're in for a treat: it's received tons of glowing reviews, and the second season has the full 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Is Warrior worth streaming?

Yes. Set in San Francisco in the late 19th Century during the brutal gang wars in the city's Chinatown, it follows Ah Sahm as he becomes a hit man for one of the city's most powerful crime families. It's largely based on stories by martial arts legend Bruce Lee and features a primarily Asian cast.

There's more to Warrior than warring, as Vox explains: "Warrior is about the many Americans who have not (and probably will never) really belong, but who have no choice but to keep grinding for the chance at a small piece of the American dream." And it's epic stuff. The Ringer says that "after introducing Sahm and the grimy streets of 19th-century San Francisco, Warrior quickly becomes a true ensemble piece – its deep roster of characters includes rival Tongs, brothel owners, policemen, businessmen, corrupt politicians, and aggrieved spouses of said corrupt politicians." Imagine Fargo with fight scenes and you've got the gist: "you're guaranteed at least one epic action scene per episode, and one of the joys of the show is that each fight has its own unique flavor."

The Ringer's Miles Surrey wrote his piece after the show's 2020 cancellation, and his review proved to be prophetic: "Perhaps, like Cobra Kai, which has gained newfound prominence on Netflix [as one of the best Netflix shows], this martial arts show just needs a bigger platform to find an audience." The move to Netflix appears to have done just that for a show which, as Surrey rightly says, "packs one hell of a punch".

All three seasons of Warrior are streaming on Netflix now.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.