Director: Vicente Amorim
Writers: Fernando Toste and Kimi Lee
Starring: Masumi, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Eijiro Ozaki and Kenny Leu
Yakuza Princess is based upon a graphic novel Samurai Shiro by Danilo Beyruth. It tells the story of the heir to a Yakuza family after the boss is murdered in cold blood. The heir is sent abroad as an infant and grows up without knowing her past. After rival Yakuza discover her secret, Akemi ends up teaming up with an American to get to the truth of her past.
There are some great performances here. Masumi makes her feature film debut and is really great as the lead role. She’s convincing as an action hero and really brings Akemi to life. Her character isn’t developed enough, which is a shame, but the small character-building moments at the beginning with her training and going to a club for her birthday are really good and help you care about Akemi enough to keep your attention for the rest of the film.
Yakuza Princess is simply gorgeous. The lighting and visuals are stunning throughout. From the dark and gritty moments to the bright neon lights, it’s a joy to watch and is really well shot. There’s some choppy camera work through the action sequences, but that’s only a minor issue. It’s a beautiful throughout.
This is a bloody film. While it’s not over the top, there isn’t any holding back with the blood and violence. There is a lot of sword-fighting and death. The effects are incredible and one of the best bits of the film. It’s not overly gory, but there’s a lot of slicing limbs off and stabbings. The sound effects are really exaggerated, but it fits a film that’s based on a graphic novel.
While the film is under two hours in length, it does start to drag a little in the middle. The mystery at the centre of the story takes a little while to unfold and you do figure out the main parts of it before it’s fully explained. It would have been nice to speed this up a bit, the final fight sequence is entertaining though and makes up for it.
This is an enjoyable and solid action film, even though the story does feel like it follows some familiar plot points. It’s nothing extraordinary, but with some really good performances, beautiful visuals and really bloody action there’s more than enough to enjoy.
Yakuza Princess will be available in the UK on digital platforms from 13th September