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Samurai Princess

Canadian Premiere

  • Japan 2009
  • 90 min
  • video
  • Japanese with English subtitles

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Director: Kengo Kaji
Screenplay: Sôtarô Hayashi, Kengo Kaji
Cast: Aino Kishi, Dai Mizuno, Mao Shiina, Miki Hirase, Takeshi Ayabe
Producers: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Distributor: CREi


In a time and place “beyond the jurisdiction of the Buddha,” as the mad scientist Kyoraku puts it, a young woman is on the hunt. She is the Devil Princess of legend and she carries a poster bearing the image of two outlaws—a bloodthirsty, sexually demented Bonnie and Clyde, the product of quasi-mystical cyborg engineering. By their very nature, as androids, their existence is prohibited by the Shogun’s decree, but it is their acts of unmitigated savagery—horrific desecrations of their victims’ corpses that they perversely refer to as “art”—that have made the pair the target of the woman who seeks them. For she too is an android, a veritable killing machine containing the souls of a flock of teenage girls who were raped and hideously butchered by the demonic duo and their vile henchmen. She alone has the power to destroy them, but she too is pursued, for the Shogun’s forces will not allow her existence either. Buckets of blood will flow and countless body parts will fly hither and thither before this dire conundrum is resolved.

If at last year’s edition of Fantasia, you enjoyed the low-budget sci-fi/samurai sex-kitten slaughterfest of ONECHANBARA, get ready for another dose of the same with SAMURAI PRINCESS. It owes a few debts not to creditors—its evidently minimal production costs are made up for by way of sheer, ghoulish inventiveness in the gore and effects departments—but to classics of extreme Japanese exploitation cinema, from the LONE WOLF AND CUB series (whence hails the device of framing the protagonist through the split head of a dispatched miscreant) to last year’s immensely popular and intensely sanguinary Fantasia offering TOKYO GORE POLICE. In fact, SAMURAI PRINCESS is the directorial debut of TGP’s screenwriter Kengo Kaji. And moreover, TGP director/special-effects wizard Yoshi Nishimura oversees the smorgasbord of grisly gruesomeness here, as he did for MACHINE GIRL as well—we’ll save the surprises for your viewing pleasure, teasing you with only offhand mentions of breast grenades, chainsaw feet and some poor schmuck getting punched so hard, his whole skeleton pops out of his body. That’s gotta hurt!

—Rupert Bottenberg

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