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THE PRINCESS BLADE

In the near future, Japan (though the countryís name is never mentioned) has been reduced to a lawless industrial wasteland where a bloodline of samurai assassins is employed by the government to suppress dissent. But all is not well in the blade-wielding House of Takemikazuchi. On her 20th birthday, Princess Yuki (Yumiko Shaku) learns that her motherís assassination eight years earlier came at the hands of her trusted sergeant-at-arms (Kyusaku Shimida). What ensues is a rudimentary revenge drama (influenced by the graphic novel and classical tragedies) thatís purely a vehicle for the swordplay choreographed by Donnie Yen. As Yuki, Japanese pop icon Shaku blends femininity and rage; her eyes captivate even when the insipid dialogue about killing betrays her. Hideaki Ito as the underground operative who nurses Yuki back to health is equally engaging. And itís clear that video-game-designer-turned-director Shinsuke Sato knows what heís got: when the action settles down, he wisely hangs the camera on his alluring stars. In Japanese with English subtitles. (93 minutes)


Issue Date: August 29 - September 4, 2003
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