I love a good action film to cleanse the pallad. In all honesty, this was a genre film with very familiar beats. When you say a movie is derivative of earlier films, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything rests in the execution, and for the most part this movie delivers on its promise. On the other hand, unlike most mainstream action movies, it doesn’t try to overdo itself and does not overstay its welcome. Let’s see how sharp of an edge it has.
Yakuza Princess (2021) is directed by Vicente Amorim, who wrote along with Kimi Lee, Tubaldini Shelling and Fernando Toste. It’s based on the graphic novel “Samurai Shiro” by Danilo Beyruth. Raised in Brazil most of her life, Akemi (Masumi) yearns to know about her father and grandfather’s lives back in Japan. Meanwhile, she’s been trained martial arts and sword fighting. But somewhere else in the city, a man (Johnathan Rhys-Meyers) is found beat up and cut with no memory of who he is – except he was holding an ancient katana sword. His past, and the sword’s past are somehow linked to Akemi.
This is an action film that hits most of the familiar tropes of the genre, but does a decent work in its execution. The combatants are never portrayed at any level of invincibility. People get hurt, wounds don’t heal magically, and lots of bodies are left behind. Although the movie shares its time between Osaka, Japan and Sao Paulo, Brazil it’s this last location where most of the action takes place. Sao Paulo’s setting makes for an excellent backdrop. Sometimes modern, sometimes aged and with even some cyberpunk-ish lighting every now and then.
Recommended for action enthusiasts with some light reservations. There’s a few beats here and there where the movie slows down just to try to build up on some solemn moments, but they’re not overdrawn and it knows to come back to the action pretty quick. You also have some tropes of the genre showing up, but for the most part they’re fun and move the film along. It doesn’t necessarily bring something new to the genre but it’s a decent action flick. Worth a watch if you’re in the mood.
That will do for now.