Monday, August 30, 2021

Yakuza Princess - Fantasia 2021 Movie Review

The Movie: Yakuza Princess

The Director: Vincent Amorim

The Cast: MASUMI, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tsuyoshi Ihara

The Story: The heiress to half of the Yakuza crime syndicate forges an uneasy alliance with an amnesiac stranger who believes an ancient sword binds their two fates.

The Review:
When I saw the roster of movies that were going to be shown during the Fantasia International Film Festival, I knew it was one I was going to have to see and thankfully, it did not disappoint. The story, set in Brazil, is based off of a legendary graphic novel called Samurai Shiro by prolific comic creator Danilo Beyruth. In case you didn't know, and full disclosure I didn't know, Brazil, and more specifically Sao Paolo, has the largest Japanese community of anywhere in the world so the possibility for great story telling like this was just waiting to be tapped in to.

The story itself is a combination origin story and classic yakuza showdown action movie although it still manages to set itself apart from what you might typically expect. There are plenty of twists and turns, some predictable and some genuinely surprising but never not engaging mostly thanks to director Vincent Amorim's clean filmmaking style and tons of beautiful imagery put on screen by veteran cinematographer Gustavo Hadba. Throw in some intense action choreography and this movie solid all the way around and is highlighted by a debut performance from lead actress MASUMI.

I was even more impressed with MASUMI'S performance after doing a bit of research and discovering that she is a singer song writer who not long before getting this role decided to pursue acting. Her efforts and training definitely paid off as she has the look and presence of a more seasoned screen veteran with both the dramatic side of things and the martial arts action scenes. I really enjoyed her character and, since the movie sets things up for the possibility of more to come, I am hoping we do get to see more at some point.

The Verdict:
Yakuza Princess takes a graphic novel and turns it into a graphically intense martial arts action movie and features a knock out debut performance from MASUMI.

To keep track of all my reviews and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at Fantasia 2021.

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