TL;DR – An interesting concept, strong action and cast, but one that didn’t have the thematic strength to make it to the end.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film
The Princess Review –
One of the types of films that I like is when a filmmaker takes a familiar concept and then flips it on its head. Think like John Wick, who presented a slasher film in a way that we were rooting for the killer. This week, we look at a movie that is doing a similar thing, in taking the idea of a princess trapped in a castle by an evil lord and changing the narrative of a rescuer coming to save her to her slashing her way out of the place.
So to set the scene, we open in on a picturesque castle by the coast, and as we come closer, we see a woman on an elegant bed. The only thing to cause concern is that the woman, a princess, is in chains and is trapped in her room. As two henchmen come to check on her, she dislocates her thumb and uses her chains as a weapon as she takes the guards down one at a time. The Princess (Joey King) has been forced to marry Julius (Dominic Cooper) against her will. He did not take the rejection well, capturing the castle and imprisoning the royal family. Now The Princess is at the top of the tallest tower, the escape is at the bottom, and there are a lot of enemy soldiers between her and the exit.
Of the things that I liked about this film, the top was the performance of Joey King. So much of the narrative and emotional weight of the movie rests on her performance, including quite a bit of the stunt work. As a protagonist, the narrative sets her and her skills up well, and even though it gets a bit silly in places, Joey brings her best throughout. For example, I liked the costume’s progression after each action scene. On the subject of stunts, I also have to give credit to Clayton Barber and their stunt team, who all stepped up here. Most of the action scenes were entertaining, with an energy and flow to them reminiscent of the Kingsmen films. Additionally, most of the cast knew what sort of film they were in and made sure they chewed all the scenery.
While I generally had a good time with The Princess, I am not sure it all came together in the end. To begin with, there came a time when the constant ‘action scene – small narrative beat – action scene – repeat’ began to be a drag because they were finding fewer exciting ways to frame the action scenes by the third act and the narrative beats in-between were not that strong. While I am grateful that this was only a 90-minute film, it was a long 90 minutes in places. It felt like they went with the notion of keeping it simple but corrected a bit too much to the point where it was missing some of the underlying substance it needed and instead substituting in some lazy jokes. Part of this might also be a bit of tonal dissidence, where you have a very light film tonally but then superimposed with levels of violence and language that feel like they are from a different movie.
In the end, do we recommend The Princess? Well, I have sat through worse 90 minutes in my life, and many of the action scenes were solidly entertaining. However, narratively the film felt a bit half-baked like it was missing some substance. If you liked The Princess, we would also recommend to you Ever After.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Princess
Directed by – Le-Van Kiet
Written by – Ben Lustig & Jake Thornton
Music by – Natalie Holt
Cinematography by – Lorenzo Senatore
Edited by – Alex Fenn
Production/Distribution Companies – Original Film, 20th Century Studios & Disney+
Starring – Joey King, Dominic Cooper, Olga Kurylenko, Veronica Ngo, Alex Reid, Ed Stoppard, Katelyn Rose Downey, Kristofer Kamiyasu, Fergus O’Donnell, Ivan Kostadinov, Todor Kirilov, Antoni Davidov, Radoslav Parvanov, Vasil Toshev, Stanislav Satko, Max Kraus, Deyan Angelov, Milko Yovchev, Ivo Arakov & Martin Taskov
Rating – Australia: MA15+;