Starring: Jamie Chung, Brendan Fehr, Saige Thompson, Kyle Labine, Anthony Brandon Wong, Steven Brand, Kenneth Choi and Stacy Kiebler
Created By: Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Scott Rosenberg, Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy (executive producers)
Premieres: Part 1 - Friday, September 5, 2008 at 8:00 PM ET, Part 2 – Saturday, 9/6 at 8:00 PM ET, and Part 3 – Sunday, 9/7 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC Family
Samurai Girl is based on a series of popular young-adult novels that I’ve never read. Being outside the targeted age demographic, I didn’t have any real expectations for the TV movie but from what I saw of it, it’s actually pretty good. The story follows Heaven (Jamie Chung), the adopted daughter of a wealthy, powerful Japanese businessman. Heaven was brought up to be a proper, obedient daughter but her life takes a drastic turn when she goes to San Francisco to partake in an arranged marriage. Her wedding is interrupted when a bunch of ninjas show up and try to kidnap her. She’s rescued before they get to her and ends up on the run and full of questions about why she’s being pursued, who she can trust and how she’ll get by.
Heaven is fortunate enough to meet Cheryl (Saige Thompson) and Otto (Kyle Labine), neither of which have much else to do than help her out in tracking down Jake Stanton (Brendan Fehr), a close friend of her brother’s and one of the only people she can trust. Jake is skilled at martial arts and takes the time to train her so that she can be better prepared for her mission. Heaven learns that she has a destiny and that information is added to the pile of questions that is rapidly growing. She vows to get to the bottom of things, which means facing a dangerous path.
For a story so heavy on mystery, danger and destiny, I was surprised that there were so many lighter moments throughout the portion of the movie that I was able to view. This comes in large part to Heaven’s encounters with Otto and Cheryl, who are for the most part, average-joes who have an outside perspective on Heaven’s situation, unlike everyone else in her world. There are a number of fight sequences that are also a lot of fun to watch and Chung pulls those off as well as she does with the more dramatic moments.
I get the impression that Samurai Girl is going to appeal to teenagers and young adults (particularly of the female variety), which is to be expected given that this is an ABC Family production but I found the first part interesting enough that I’d actually be willing to watch the rest of it to see how it all plays out. Samurai Girl is fun and the story is laid out in such a way that it’s both intriguing and easy to follow at the same time. Whether it stays true to the original novels, I couldn’t say but I still want to see how it ends.