The Princess Movie Review: A bloody fun retelling of a fairy tale
It is refreshing to see a caged princess kick some you-know-what without waiting for a Prince Charming to swoop in and save the daythe p
Hollywood likes to ride on trends in a bid to deliver blockbusters, and one such recent trend is the reimagining of beloved fairy tales. A few weeks back, we saw a gender reversal of sorts in Sneakerella—a modern-day adaptation of Cinderella—and now, we have The Princess, which can be best described as Rapunzel meets Kill Bill. It is refreshing to see a caged princess kick some you-know-what without waiting for a Prince Charming to swoop in and save the day.
Cast: Joey King, Veronica Ngo, Dominic Cooper
Director: Le-Van Kiet
Streaming on: Disney plus Hotstar
The Princess begins with Joey King’s titular character being chained to a bed on the top floor of a fortified castle. The Princess is held there against her will because she rejected the marriage proposal of a cruel tyrant, Julius (Dominic Cooper). Right from the first frame, the film moves to Action City as it plays out like a video game where on every floor there is a new and bigger challenge awaiting The Princess. She not only has to save herself but also her family and the people of her kingdom who are held hostages by Julius.
It is a film that is completely mounted on the strengths of Joey King, and boy, does she deliver! While the film is set in the medieval era, every action sequence in the film—there’s pretty much one every minute—is wonderfully staged with a modern and fun soundtrack (Natalie Holt). Full points to cinematographer Lorenzo Senatore and editor Alex Fenn for neatly packaging not just the hand-to-hand combats but elaborate set-pieces as well. The killings, the traditional and makeshift weapons, and the limitless bloodshed might seem repetitive after a point, but it is still inventive enough to ensure our investment.
In her path of stylish destruction, the Princess is joined by Linh (Veronica Ngo), her mentor and fellow awesome fighter. We see how the King (Ed Stoppard) rues not having a son and thinks bringing a son-in-law through the wedding of his daughter might be the only way to have an heir. As you can imagine, The Princess and Linh have other plans. Their moments are some of the best in this film that questions the patriarchy in our system that has pervaded from the medieval to the millennial era.
Is The Princess a groundbreaking film? Perhaps not, but the Le-Van Kiet directorial is a worthy addition to the list of films that break away from stereotypes while telling an all-familiar tale. Films like The Princess may come across as superficial takes on serious issues, but at times, seeing princesses kick, punch, and kill their way through insurmountable obstacles is good enough.