review by Neo
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This was the movie that I wanted to rent since probably May from the local dvd store, but somehow every Big Wednesday (it is cheaper to rent new releases on this day - only $1.95) it is always finding a way to get away from me. In that I mean that it is always taken! And finally now I got hold of it and watched it at my friend's home entertainment TV and geez I wish I had that kind of sound system, cos it does make a pretty big different. Okay, let's get to the reason why I want to watch this movie, well there is two, well maybe two, cos I am not sure, well one is Donnie Yen being the action director and two is always fun to see a Jap girl, a cute one, kicking ass, and no I am not ham sup, cos if I am I wouldn't be bothering to watch this movie and watch some Jap porno instead. Expecting an outright cheesy movie with a cute but not pretty Jap girl kicking ass and showing some fresh, and killing here and here, this movie delivers exactly that. However, the plot is not that bad and in fact is quite full of potential, but somehow the director seems to muddle it up and fails by presenting all the most cheesy cliché of all types of drama. Whenever there is no action, apart from the Jap girl, okay her last name is Yumiko, tattoo on her back scene, all the scenes of drama is just outright boring or very predictable. However, the action scenes in between and here and there is the best thing of it, and without doubt Kill Bill must have took some inspiration from it, and killings are just brutal, fun and very real! Good job, Donnie Yen, but still can't believe you made the crap Protégé le de Rose Noire.
The plot itself is not the real problem but the way the Japanese director handled the emotional parts and the editing jobs that really didn't portray the script onscreen well at all. It is basically about the Jap girl taking revenge, being betrayed, met up with this guy and he is not what you think he is, he has this secret, she wants revenge by killing her mother's killer and blah blah blah, you get the drift. While it has the potential of being very emotional in the last few scenes, somehow the director just failed to make it compelling or at least be able to 'cheat' the audience with some heart feeling close up and soft jazz music to evoke emotions. However, the director made a bad choice to put crescendo music - loud - in emotional scene - come on, even I can do better than that. I remember last year watch that Matrix 3, in the scene where Neo's GF dies (no not talking about me) the girls sitting behind us - burst out laughing and we couldn't stop smile when it was supposed to be a heart felt scene. You know there is a problem when unintentional comedy happens like that!
As to Yumiko's performance, she is not very pretty, but without doubt very cute and especially that tattoo scene, somehow she seems cuter when her hair is wet. Wait, what am I talking about, back to her acting style. She is without doubt not a compelling actress and adding to the poor drama direction, the scenes of emotions are just plain cheesy and cliché. But I must say her fights are pretty good and that scene of her palm being stabbed by a samurai sword is just menacing to watch. There so many cool and brutal fight scenes with heads and hands and legs chopping off, nearly redeeming the movie. The other Jap guy who is known as Takeshi in the movie, man what the hell is with the name - Takeshi, no offence are all Japanese guys name - Takeshi??? Come on be more creative and at least call him like Sushi or something!!! His performance was alright nothing to get excited about.
Overall, this is a well produced movie and considering it is a Japanese movie with HK style action, it is a very good combination, but one thing must be really stress on, taking away Donnie Yen's fight scenes, this movie is just utter crap, since 80% of the movie is Donnie's action direction, the movie is not bad at all and in fact all the killings are just great to watch (not that I like killings, but I did like Battle Royale). So do I recommend this movie, well if you like cute Jap girls being submissive - then stay away from this and watch that genre, but if you like to see a cute Jap girl kicking ass, then that's another story.
I rate it 7.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Product Title : Princess Blade
Artist Name(s) : Shaku Yumiko | Ito Hideaki
Language : Japanese
Duration : 93 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - August 2004