Warrior: There's No China in the Bible
April 29, 2019 9:57 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Intercepting a shipment of opium at the docks, Young Jun, with Ah Sahm and his Hop Wei lieutenant Bolo in tow, decides to send a message to Long Zii. Big Bill and Lee investigate a grisly murder scene in an alley next to an Irish bar, The Banshee. Penny Blake, the young wife of San Francisco's mayor, finds herself in a bind while visiting the wharf with her Chinese manservant, Jacob. Ah Sahm pays a steep price for playing the hero. The Long Zii clean up a mess, and brace for more bloodshed.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okay. Yeah. Super duper violent. First scene in this one is a hatchet fight.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:47 AM on April 30, 2019

But also visually super dark, so it's hard to see what's going on.

And because of this, I learned that hatchet man and hatchet job are terms that arose from the Chinese gangs in San Francisco. That Word Histories article includes an extensive excerpt from a news article from 1874, which also gives some context to the Chinese brothels in the U.S.

More reading for real-world background on this show:
  • The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. Building on the 1875 Page Act, which banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law implemented to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating. (Wikipedia x2)
  • The Tong Wars were a series of violent disputes beginning in the 1880s among rival Chinese Tong factions centered in the Chinatowns of various American cities, in particular San Francisco. (Wikipedia)
  • The hatchet men : the story of the tong wars in San Francisco's Chinatown (Richard H. Dillon, 1962) -- you can borrow the book from Archive.org for 14 days if you log in.

posted by filthy light thief at 7:12 AM on May 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Anglicization is hard sometimes; the pronunciation for Tong in Cantonese has a softer more D sound that a hard T and the nn is glotteral and enlongened. Dong.

I've always been confused seeing "associations"/ gangs called Tongs, when that anglicization should go to Tang dynasty affiliated Southern Chinese people who identified themselves as Tong Yun - People of Tang - (most Chinatowns are more properly TangPeopleStreets but it doesn't roll off the tongue).

Yes, T'ang2 is pronounced Tong.

Growing up as a Cantonese speaker, I was taught that we were both Chinese (middle kingdom) People but more specifically Tong Yun.
posted by porpoise at 6:56 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I liked the axe fight. Felt a bit 'Gangs of New York' homage-y (which is no bad thing; sometimes it might be a mercy to be killed rather than horribly maimed - or have to endure gangrene and sepsis and die screaming over hours and hours and hours).

Then again, opium was easily available. The current opioid epidemic is just the latest incarnation.

The language switching seems pretty tight. Good example is Bolo and 3 shaking down the old apothecarist. Rich Ting's Cantonese accent ain't bad this episode. A lot of swear words/ crude language is really colloquial, and I kind of disagree with much of the subtitle translations.

Interested in where the good hearted (and scientific forsensics buff) Richard Lee character is headed.

The Asian actors don't embarrass themselves - this show kind of kills the argument about casting non-Asian actors for roles written for Asian actors "because there isn't the same talent pool to choose from" - or for any non-ethnotyped role, for that matter.

3's rather plain hatchet is much more authentic than the one Bolo uses (which almost looks mall-ninja-ey). But it reads to me as a "war hatchet" more than the peasant wood cutting hand axes common in the Boxer Rebellion, and in Eastern media depictions of said.

By the time Bruce Lee arrived in America, people seemed to switch to butcher cleavers (which can still defined as hatchets) as the preferred plausibly deniable lethal weapon.

Highly skill butchers at Chinese BBQ places are scary at how quickly, cleanly, and finely they can cleave through bones. No hand armor (I've seen Western butchers use fine chainmail gloves in dangerous fast work). Can't find a good youtube video, unfortunately.

As for dark (contrast/brightness), it seems a super common comment for the last episode of GoT, too, but I had no problems with either episodes. Some have suggested that less than full bitrate streaming might be a culprit.
posted by porpoise at 8:49 PM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

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