Did you know that Sao Paolo, Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Brazil? No? Me neither, well, know you do and that’s one thing you can take away from Yakuza Princess.
Sadly, it is one of the only things you can take away from this film based on a Danilo Beyruth graphic novel, co-written by Kimi Lee , Tubaldini Shelling, Fernando Toste and director Vicente Amorim (“The Division”, “As Canalhas (TV)”).
The movie sees Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“Vikings (TV)”, “Mission: Impossible III”) wake-up in a hospital in Brazil, with a lack of memory. However, when the doctor and two policemen show him the sword he was found with, he recognises that, but denies it to the men.
He escapes, with the sword, and happens upon a pawn shop where the man inside tells him he’s seen the sword before and who had it originally.
This brings us to Akemi, MASUMI (“Posse (TV)”, “Naruto: Climbing Silver (TV)”), a young woman living in Brazil and learning how to fight.
Akemi and Shiro (Myers) meet up when Shiro helps her in a time of need. He does a good job, but just as things turn in the bad guys favour, another man enters the frame, Takeshi, Tsuyoshi Ihara (“Black Widow Business (TV)”, “Iine! Iine! Iine!”).
Takeshi works for the Yakuza back in Osaka and has heard that Akemi is in Brazil. He heads out there and steps into her apartment at just the right time, killing the three and seemingly shooting at both Akemi and Shiro.
Anyway, skip forward a bit and now Akemi and Takeshi are a team, with Shiro being identified as the man who killed Akemi’s family some 20-years ago, though he doesn’t remember.
This all leads to a final showdown on a roof top with another lieutenant in the Yakuza.
The premise of Yakuza Princess is a reasonably good one, the title gives things away a tad, and the the movie does nothing to help that, it’s all very predictable.
For some reason, Myers decides to make his character as close to Schwarzenegger playing Terminator as possible. There’s even a scene in the hospital where he takes someone’s clothes which is more than a little familiar.
Beyond that, a large portion of the overly long running time is made-up of people walking, often in slow-mo, usually with big, booming, dramatic music playing.
Sadly, as much as I was looking forward to Yakuza Princess, it’s not the martial arts, sword-fighting, action-flick I was hoping for. It’s long, slow and predictable.
13th September 2021
THE QUICK SELL
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. She must unleash war against the other half of the syndicate who wants her dead.