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November 1, 2014

Samurai Girl -- An early look

by Brett Love, posted Sep 1st 2008 12:30PM

Jamie Chung - Samurai Girl
It's good to be ABC Family right about now. The Secret Life Of The American Teenager has been knocking the ratings ball out of the park all summer. GREEK just returned to great numbers of its own. And, while it hasn't had those same numbers, The Middleman is outstanding. Looking to continue riding that wave of success, the network is ready to debut their next big project next weekend. Samurai Girl is based on a series of young-adult novels. The six hour mini-series will play out with two hours a night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting September 5.

Actually, an early peek, or an early glimpse might be a more apt title. Unfortunately, somewhere between the ABC Family DVD factory and our FedEx guy dropping off the disk, someone apparently dropped my copy on a running chainsaw. That's the only thing that can explain the giant scratch that was on it. Initially, three different computers and my set-top player all refused to play anything at all. All was not lost though. I love a good kung fu movie, and was curious to see the ABC Family take on the form. So much so, that I actually spent more time extracting the individual chapters from the disk than I spent watching it. In the end, I recovered four of the five chapters. So I've had a good look at the first installment.

My first impression is that this feels like what you would expect from ABC Family. That's not a negative, it's just what it is. The movie shares more with Disney's Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior than it does with something like Machine Girl. Those concessions meant that the violence has been toned down, and there are about 400 gallons less fake blood than in my usual imported kung fu romp. It doesn't really detract from the story though. They still manage some good chase scenes and some fairly inventive fight sequences.

Minor spoilers start here. I'm not going to give away much, because I think it's a fun story worth tuning in for, and I also have yet to see four hours of it. But the basics of it go like this... As we enter the story, Heaven (Jamie Chung, Dragonball) is on her way to San Francisco for the arranged marriage her father has set up for business reasons. Before she goes, we learn that her brother, Hiko, left home after a disagreement with their father. We jump right to the wedding, which is attacked by ninjas.

And I think that is where people can make some decisions on this one. How do you feel about this line of dialog? "I ran away because ninjas attacked the wedding." If your eyes just rolled, maybe this isn't for you. Because that is very much the world this story takes place in. If ninjas breaking up a wedding seems like a fine idea though, ABC Family might have something for you.

Samurai Girl - Kyle Labine, Saige Thompson, Brendan Fehr, Jamie Chung
Amongst the chaos as the ninjas attack, Heaven is pulled away by Hiko, making a surprise appearance. As they flee to safety, Hiko is killed, by a ninja. That is the launching pad for Heaven's big adventure. She can't return to the hotel where the family is staying, so she makes her way to the home of her brother's American friend, Jake (Brendan Fehr, Roswell). Along the way she befriends Cheryl (Saige Thompson) and Otto (Kyle Labine). The three of them help her on her quest to find out who killed her brother, and took her family away from her. Through it all, the mysterious Severin (Steven Brand) lurks in the background. It's clear he knows something about Heaven, and her family, but not how he's involved.

The answer to what Severin is up to comes at the close of the first installment, and it's a good one. Of all the possible tracks for the story to take that were running through my head, the one they chose came as a surprise. It sets the story up very well to head into part two. I'm assuming that is where we'll see Stacy Keibler enter the story as Karen. She doesn't appear in part one, but the press materials list her as Heaven's romantic rival.

The long and short of it is that you probably already know if Samurai Girl is for you. If you like the ABC Family style of programming, this one is well made and worth a look. If their thing isn't for you, maybe take part of the weekend and rent Machine Girl instead. They bought the fake blood by the 55 gallon drum, seriously. I'm going to tune in. Even with a scratched disk, it's a fun show.

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Dmitriy

People- do not waste your time to watch this movie. This is absolutely garbage. Low budget movie with cheep tricks and absolutely no logic. Junk.

September 09 2008 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ender

This show blows. They should have named it the "Boring Girl", and Jamie is not that good looking.

September 09 2008 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GBedard804

It was a great mini series. I'm sorry I missed the ending
I hope it comes out on DVD This mini series was definately captivating excellent

September 08 2008 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GBedard804

I enjoyed the mini series however i do hope you show it in it's enterity or have it on DVD I didn,t get to see the ending. I would rate it 5 stars Great show

September 08 2008 at 3:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kyarukirai

This show is a piece of crap.

September 06 2008 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
astraotter

"...I love a good kung fu movie, and was curious to see the ABC Family take on the form..."

brett, its 2008 and you still manage to display an amazing degree of good ol' fashioned cultural ignorance and myopia.

oh..wait i am sorry! perhaps you were in cryogenic suspension from 1949 and you were recently awoken to a crazy, scary world where african americans can be 5 star generals, and other people of color don't have to sit on the back of the bus. man, what has the world turned into? damn!

why don't you lift up the brim of your cowboy hat so they don't cover your eyes, and take off those too tight cowboy boots as they must be restricting the blood flow to your brain; so you can actually make an attempt to demonstrate some intelligence and insight to cultures and peoples outside of the USA, and perhaps even within.

oh...wait, my bad not all white americans are cowboys? and gosh, i guess i can't blame you for your blanket cultural observations on asians as they all look alike don't they! egads! they sure are tough to tell apart, aren't they?

chinese, japanese, teriyaki, sweet and sour, samuari, kung fu, ninja, chop suey, whatever...right?


so in your universe, the french are known for inventing golf and the scotts for their brie. the danes built the amazing sistine chapel and the italians used to sail around in long boats raiding the british isles...yes of course...i see now...


brett, i am shocked that some one with your ignorance is allowed to write on such a web based venue. how in the world did some one with your brain even get this far?

oh wait...nevermind, we have low IQ, coke sniffing, alchy for a president...

September 05 2008 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to astraotter's comment
Brett Love

Dang astraotter, you got a lot of mileage out of one reference to kung fu movies. I get the feeling that you are just looking for something to be offended by, so it probably makes no difference to you anyway, but I'll still toss out an explanation.

"Kung Fu Movie" has long ago surpassed being tied to one particular culture. It's a movie genre, and not exclusive to any one country or martial art. As evidence, allow me to point you to kungfumovies.net and Three The Hard Way. They call it an "All time cult kung fu classic" despite the fact that it's about a karate tournament and stars Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Richard Roundtree.

September 05 2008 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
astraotter

brett, i recognize your "explanation" for such usage, but as a writer with an audience, you have a platform to perhaps evolve and redefine genre tags.

just because "so and so used" these words decades/years ago doesn't excuse its outdated application today.

as a person in your position, you have a certain power to change and edify public perception.

by your logic, just because someone used certain words to describe a genre (and its relation to a culture or people) in the past doesn't make it "ok" today. otherwise alot of "white" people, years later after this word was conceived, would still consider "n*gger" still acceptable when describing a person of african descent, right?

you're right i did get on my soapbox. sorry, but i felt it needed to be said especially when hollywood and those involved in writing about, has such great affect on the public at large and how we perceive others in our american cultural landscape.

most americans would never have guessed that 25% of all "cowboys" in the old west were indeed african americans by watching just about any westerns up until the 1960's.

just one example of skewed celluloid "reality" versus reality.

yes, samurai girl is entertainment, we all love to be entertained, but there are times when we can perhaps just be a bit more conscientious about how we write about it.



September 07 2008 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
leah

I REALLY wish the character's name wasn't heaven.

I'm only watching for Michael.

September 02 2008 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jaerisk

Jamie Chung is hot so I will watch even if my eyes begin to bleed.

September 02 2008 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

I like how they advertise -- or you do -- that Jamie is from the upcoming Dragonball, as opposed to, I don't know, an entire season of The Real World.

September 01 2008 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Marcus Gorman's comment
Brett Love

Actually ABC Family makes no mention of The Real World at all in the cast bio they sent out. I just chose Dragonball because it's the most recent project, and her biggest role so far.

September 01 2008 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david

boooooooooo

To say I hate that answer is the understatement of the year. People come to read blogs like this to get the real info on projects, not just a reprocessed version of the spin networks hand out.

To say dragonballZ is her biggest project is just trying to cover your butt (and idiotic). How many people have seen this movie? ZERO. How many peopleeven know this movie is in production? A fraction of the people who have seen jamie on the real world.

When you google the phrase "burying the lead" a link to this story should come up.

September 02 2008 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Courtney

I'll be checking it out, but really, what got me hooked was that the trailers used the score from "Chosen," the series finale of Buffy. I probably wouldn't have paid as much attention, but the music was giving me goosebumps. I don't know if that means more for the show or for the trailer. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out, though.

September 01 2008 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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