The Princess Blade

Director: Shinsuke Sato

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Princess Blade In an imaginary kingdom of the near future, society has reverted to medievalism. In The Princess Blade (Shura Yukihime, 2001), assassins have been hired to fight rebels.

The set-up is more video game than story, derived from manga (comics). Modern youth fight with pistols & swords, doing their nonstop paces through action stunts, with a butch young woman being as convincingly tough as the boys, not that any of them are particularly convincing.

The Princess BladeThe fighting styles aren't Japanese despite Japanese weapons; it's kung fu movie stuff, choreographed by Donnie Yen, a leading young action director in the Chinese style.

Since the imaginary kingdom isn't necessarily a parallel Japan I guess it's okay to make the visual assumpton that the future will still have samurai weapons but will have imported stances & methods from the mainland.

The Princess BladeStill, characters not knowing how to hold a katana in a way that would actually make it a deadly weapon, or the proper stance to draw a longbow, made the film pictorially weaker than it needed to be.

Absurdities like using sword to deflect bullets abound. The world comingles the modern with the medieval, & laughable moments of extreme sadness are sandwiched between scenes of mindless mayhem, all with an obsessive youth orientation as though intended for Saturday morning television.

The plot is wildly convoluted & not the least bit interesting, but at root the main issues are pretty simple. Yuki (played by blandly pretty television star Yumiko Shaku) is turning twenty years old & its time to avenge her mother's death then take her place in the royal house.

I love swordswomen characters & tried to be patient with the film but it was just unbearably bad on the level of narrative, made worse by the performances. The action has so little sensible context that it's mere shtick. Nor is Yuki (or anyone else) at all convincing at fighting. As a childish fairy tale mixed with science fiction, it very likely requires the viewer to be very young & not yet terribly knowledgeable about anything in order to relate.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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