Blood of the Samurai: The Series, the direct sequel of the award-winning indie film, is a lively blend of martial arts action and humour, Hawaii-style.
The series, shot and produced completely in Hawaii, unlike Hollywood-based productions, has a truer, more authentic 'local' feel and flavor. Local patois is not overdone, and the type of humour unique to Hawaii shines through without becoming opaque or incoherent. While watching the first season, one other thing shone through: it felt as if everyone was having fun doing what they were doing, and they wanted you to have fun, too.
The core cast is appealing and share an excellent chemistry. Bryan Yamasaki and Michael Ng, as Trent and Rob, are believable as two old friends and regular guys trying to deal with their bizarre responsibility as the new guardians of the cursed swords. Colleen Fujioka and Stephanie Sanchez turn in spot-on performances as Brooke and Roxy, their girlfriends. There is a little bit of soap opera, but it doesn't bog things down. Shawn Forsythe, who played the villain in the film, returns as occult expert Theopolis Griffin. Don't miss Rob's antics in the background as Trent suffers through a long-winded lecture from Professor Griffin!
In addition to the original cast, former Miss Hawaii Alicia Michioka debuts as a mysterious ninja; Superbrawl champion Egan Inoue does a menacing turn as a villainous Syndicate swordsman; and veteran actor Daisuke Ban (Jinzo Ningen Kikaida, Ringu 0: Basudei, Yogen), in his first role outside of Japan, makes an appearance as Trent and Rob's dignified mentor.
While not a super slick SPFX tour-de-force, the characters are genuine and consistent, the fight sequences realistic, and the creepy/scary bits suitably atmospheric. Look for some great swordplay in the Season 1 Finale with a European fighting style against the Japanese; this episode also contains a fight sequence with Daisuke Ban!
A highly enjoyable martial arts romp, BotS:TS is a fine showcase of Hawaii-based talent.moreless