Monday, December 21, 2009

Samurai Princess

Samurai Princess 2009
Director: Kengo Kaji
Writer: Sotaro Hayashi
Starring Yu Aiba, Takashi Ayabe, Miki Harase, Mitsuru Karahashi, Asuka Kataoka, Aino Kishi, Dai Mizuno and Mihiro

The burgeoning sub genre in Japanese horror of extreme splatter gore and ultra violent films has been getting more exposure with films like The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police. Samurai Princess is the latest in this genre of films directed by the writer of Tokyo Gore Police, this is a simple revenge plot over loaded with gore and extreme violence and if you love this stuff as much as I do you will really get a kick out of this film. The story is very simple, so there is no over thinking of the plot. It is the standard someone has been wronged and now there is only one person who can enact the revenge and justice that they deserve. The film combines a martial arts gore fest with a science fiction mecha story and does it pretty well. I saw a lot of similarities with the narrative and plot of the film with the Bruce Lee Classic The Chinese Connection. It follows the path of a lone warrior seeking justice for a wrong and it leads them down a dark path that can only end in one result.
The plot basics are this, while on a school field trip a young girl (Kishi), watches as 11 of her friends are raped and murdered and then harvested for body parts by creatures called "mechas". She is found by a scientist (Mizuno) who is also a mecha and he agrees to help her by grafting parts of her friends along with their souls into her body. Now that she is armed with their rage and power she is eager to decimate any opponents that stands in her way. She will also be chased by a police force that is out to eradicate all mechas, so she has little time to lose if she wants to achieve her retribution. It will all lead to a bloody showdown with the leader of the mob that killed her friends and it will be a fight that will shake the foundations of the earth, the question is will the Princess prevail or is she doomed to fail?
This is a great popcorn film. The direction by Kaji is fast and furious. The fight scenes are outrageous and a delight to watch. He lets the blood and limbs fly around copiously so you are really in for a feast for the eyes when you view this film. The script is basic at best, but that is all you need for this type of revenge film. You just need the motive for the hero and as long as the motive seems justifiable then the viewer has no problem accepting them. The script does a good job of setting up the Princess' torment and why she needs this bloody revenge. The villains are typically over the top and that works very well for the film. The scientist that creates the Princess brings a great deal of pathos and humanity to the story and that is something that is well brought out in the narrative. The cast is quite good, Kishi has a great screen presence as the Samurai Princess and really carries the film effortlessly. She pulls off both the action sequences and the emotional scenes very well. Mizuno is also very good as the scientist that creates her into the killing machine that she becomes. He really is the heart and the soul of the film and helps the viewer tap into the emotions of the characters. The SFX and effects are amazing. The limbs fly and the blood flows like a fountain throughout this film. The scene where the 2 police agents are attacked is one of my personal favorites, it was so over the top it has to be seen to be believed. This is another great example of the Japanese extreme splatter and hyper violence films and well worth seeing.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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