From the creator of “Tokyo Gore Police” and “Machine Girl”, Yoshihiro Nishimura joins director/writer Kengo Kaji (Ultra-Seven X) as action director in this latest GORE-RIFFIC Japanese spectacle “SAMURAI PRINCESS” (aka. Devil Princess). One thing I have to say is that this film is NOT for everyone and is aimed at a very specific audience namely those who love Japanese “grind house” cinema and Gore-hounds. It stars J-AV stars Aino Kishi as the heroine and Mihiro Taniguchi (Cruel Restaurant) as the villainess--so do I have your attention yet?!
In an unknown place and an unknown time, when the creation of mechas (human-like androids) are outlawed by both the laws of Buddha and the Shogun; a pair of mad killers (played by Kentarou Shimazu and Mihiro) enhanced by mysticism and machinery are committing rape and murder throughout the land for the sake of making macabre art. Among their victims are Godohimo (Aino Kishi), who after her other 11 friends are raped and killed, is left for dead. Godohimo is found by a mad scientist called Kyoraku (Mituru Karahashi) who excels in making human-like machines and a kind-hearted Buddhist nun. Godohimo is resurrected in a new body made up of the body parts of her dead friends and their souls to hunt down and exact revenge on those responsible. Joined by a mysterious stranger named Gekko (Dai Mizuno), Godohimo is now known as “Samurai Princess”; a half-human, half-machine tech-warrior bent on revenge…
The film’s plot is a tad uninspired and quite frankly pretty straightforward. “Samurai Princess” is a film about revenge and redemption. It also carries the elements of atonement and regret; coupled with a hint of mysticism. The characters in the film are outrageous from rubber suits to anime/manga-inspired garb; the film exudes that silly and goofy atmosphere at times. Some viewers may become a tad confused, as the setting seems to be the samurai period (because of the costumes) at first glance, then you see modern buildings, a hairy cellphone, an electric guitar, guns, bazookas, rocket-propelled chainsaws and entrails that spew out maggots. The weaponry is as outrageous as the costumes; and while most people may see this as negatives, those used to this type of Japanese filmmaking would be right at home.
What makes “Samurai Princess” succeed is the extreme excesses of BLOOD and GORE. True, it is not as awesome as “Tokyo Gore Police” but it will do. Body parts are quickly dismembered, brains are turned into gooey matter in an interrogation scene, heads are sliced, chainsaws are used extensively, there are “flying guillotine breasts”, torso buzz saws, rocket boots and much more; they are all accompanied by the excessive bloody arterial spray that is the trademark of Japanese cinema. Gorehounds would be right at home with the film. There is a small amount of CGI in one scene and most of the visual effects are made of your old-fashioned prosthetics and a lot of red ink. The action scenes are decent and have that anime-like exaggerated style. However, due to the film’s low budget, the quality of the action scenes are a little inconsistent. Some are decent while others may appear to be very mediocre. Action junkies may be a little disappointed, but honestly, this film isn’t so much on action but more on crazy “pink violence”.
The characters and the plot in “Samurai Princess” are developed in the form of flashbacks. It appears to be that the lead characters are pretty much all about revenge and redemption. Dai Mizuno’s “Gekko” appears to be a reject from “Detroit Metal City” while Kyoraku appears to be a reject from one of those Japanese TV series. They do fit the film’s tone; they are outrageous and the film is outrageous…what can we expect? We don’t even need to discuss acting abilities in this type of film. Aino Kishi does also get to be in the nude and in a love scene. Kishi exhibits that gentle charisma but when she becomes a “mecha” consider her as a Barbie-like Frankenstein. I was a little disappointed that the villains Shaohi and Kochio weren’t as fully developed as Kyoraku. Mihiro Taniguchi fans, sorry…but you don’t get to see her in her birthday suit in this film.
Granted, “Samurai Princess” may not match the low-budget charm and action of “Tokyo Gore Police” and “Machine Girl” but it is still a whole lot of fun if you’re a fan of silly, Japanese fantasy films. The elements in the film aren’t anything we haven’t seen before but it is still a great exercise in the glorification of blood, guts and gore. (did I just say that?) I guess the film can be better compared to “Meatball Machine”. Again, this is a film NOT to be taken seriously and more for the fun factor than anything else. If you are into “pink violence” and Grindhouse quality filmmaking then you are in for a treat.
Recommended! [3 ½- Stars= Good but Flawed]
The U.S. Unrated DVD has both English (defaulted) and 2.0 Japanese Language tracks with good subtitles. The 1.78 ratio anamorphic widescreen picture quality may have some grain on some scenes but it is a part of its low budget charm; it is a pretty good transfer. It is pretty much a barebones release that only has the trailer and some photos.
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