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Why Warrior Season 3 Should Use Bruce Lee’s Game of Death Concept

Why Warrior Season 3 Should Use Bruce Lee's Game of Death Concept

Warrior was renewed by HBO Max; season 3 should feature the story from Bruce Lee’s unfinished film, Game of Death, and honor the martial arts master.

Warrior season 3 should adapt Bruce Lee’s concept for Game of Death for its story. After Cinemax canceled the martial arts series, Warrior was renewed for season 3 by HBO Max, which will continue its story of the San Francisco Tong Wars. The series is based upon the concept of a martial arts Western TV series created by Bruce Lee, which ultimately went unrealized in his lifetime and was finally revived in 2019 when Warrior began on Cinemax.

1978’s Game of Death is another relic of Lee’s film work during his lifetime. Though Lee passed away in 1973, the world would still see a version of Game of Death in 1978. Using portions of the footage Lee had finished, Game of Death was completed with a combination of poorly disguised body doubles and footage from other Bruce Lee movies. The film was later released in the most complete form achievable in the 2000 documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey, which presented all of the footage Lee had completed, all told coming in at about 33 minutes.

Lee had intended Game of Death as a vehicle for his philosophy of adaptation in martial arts, with his character ascending a pagoda and battling an exponent of a different fighting technique on each level, adapting to each skill set in order to win. The “finished” version of Game of Death was far too weighed down by obvious doubles and even a cardboard cutout of Lee’s face in one scene for his intentions to truly shine through, and though A Warrior’s Journey is a far more comprehensive assembly of what he managed to finish, it’s nevertheless still an incomplete one. Having already revived one idea of Lee’s that never came to pass, Warrior can do the same for Game of Death by incorporating Lee’s basic concept into season 3.

Why Warrior Season 3 Should Use Bruce Lee's Game of Death Concept
Why Warrior Season 3 Should Use Bruce Lee’s Game of Death Concept

Warrior has already showcased some of the best action scenes on modern television in its first two seasons, and Lee’s layout of one man ascending a building and battling an enemy with a different set of skills on each level would be perfect for the show. Lee’s blueprint called for he and his two associates (only seen in A Warrior’s Journey) to first take on ten enemies at the building’s base, before facing a total of five on each successive level. Following the gang war in the streets of San Francisco in the Warrior season 2 penultimate episode, taking the basic idea of Game of Death and applying it to Warrior would be a great way for season 3 to raise the bar for action sequences that was set in season 2.

A particularly effective use of Lee’s Game of Death template would be to use it as the finale of season 3, perhaps even splitting it up among the last two episodes of the season. It could even get not only Dustin Nguyen’s Zing in on the action but also Li Yong, played by actor Joe Taslim; this would give he and Andrew Koji’s Ah Sahm a rematch after their first battle in season 1, which would show how much Ah Sahm has learned from his earlier defeat — adapting to overcome his opponent, just as Lee intended Game of Death to convey. Game of Death may never have been fully realized as Bruce Lee envisioned it, but with Warrior heading into season 3, the show has all the tools to bring his vision for it to life in an unforgettable way.

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