Hollywood is always looking for high concept movies that can become franchises, dependent more on the premise or the character than the talent involved. In that same spirit, Hong Kong superstar Stephen Chow started his own franchise. His kung fu comedy Shaolin Soccer was a huge success in 2001, but he resisted any direct sequels. Instead, he joined with Japanese producer Chihiro Kameyama to make a spin off: Shaolin Girl.

Reminiscent of the original, the titular character is trained in Shaolin-style kung fu and wants to share that training with others. (One minor change: instead of soccer, she plays lacrosse.) The lone warrior must learn to become a team player. The film was released in Japan in April and is still playing after seven weeks. Mark Schilling of The Japan Times was not impressed, though: "This sort of thing plays well in Japan, especially with the TV-watching masses who are Kameyama's main target, but the rest of the world has so far remained indifferent."

Now Shaolin Girl has been released in Singapore and the buzz is not good. Stefan S. at A Nutshell Review suggested that a cameo by Chow might have rescued the picture, "but alas, knowing that it would stink, he rightfully kept his distance. And so should you." Blogger/movie reviewer r3gular at The World Through Me was just as blunt: "It's draggy, long-winded and some scenes were almost painful to continue watching."

I'm disappointed. The trailer looked promising. And the world needs more Shaolin girls.