This review for the Hulu movie The Princess (2022) contains no spoilers.
Joey King is a young actress with a built-in audience, and for the most part she’s holding her own in the new Hulu action flick, Princess, a new film that looks at medieval action footage through the new lens of motion me too. It’s an exciting choice in his career. King shows willingness to not look perfect every time. She is beaten and bruised. Her hair is matted, she’s sweating and bleeding, and according to a simple Google search, she’s done 85% to 90% of her stunts. It has a rough, tumbling action, but it’s not The last duel. Rather, it feels like a young adult or CW incarnation of dozens of the best movies we’ve seen.
King plays The Princess, an unbreakable young woman who desperately tries to become hardened by male toxicity. Her father, the King (Ed Stoppard), has no male heirs. To protect his kingdom with a smooth transition of power upon his death, he offers his daughter to a cruel pretty boy, Julius (Dominic Cooper, every casting director’s go-to for this description). Because, of course, only a man can ascend the throne. The princess will have none of it because she has been training to become a knight all her life.
By whom, you ask? His trainer is Linh (Ngô Thanh Vân), who teaches him how to fight with a sword and his mind. With the approval of her mother, the Queen (Alex Reid), the princess refuses to marry Julius, which leads to her being locked up at the top of the remote tower. (Like most of these films that lock women in, they make sure to lock her in with only the best views the kingdom has to offer). From there, it’s a chase to escape the clutches of the evil heiress and save her family.
The Princess was directed by Le-Van Kiet (Gentle) and written by Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton. It’s enjoyable through the first two acts because the film, despite its plot, never takes itself too seriously. On the one hand, King combines enough comedy with action to make the scenes believable and even exciting. A nice mix that many films of the genre tend to forget. The set piece, however, tends to be clunky and doesn’t convert as well as it should. It’s a function of writing that I like to call a video game script. The princess fights her way through the tower during the first hour of the film. Essentially, each floor is a level, and she has to beat and face more and more armored baddies as she progresses.
The action also works amazingly. Too often there are action-adventure movies where the hero goes up against multiple people. Then you see the attacker waiting for the main character to turn around to punch him in the chest. Kiet and cinematographer Lorenzo Senatore (Hellboy) cleverly use a camera trick to help with this effect. You’ll notice a scene where King fights three men at a table trying to free his family from the tower prison. When King hits a man on the left, he falls off-screen as the target then shifts to the right for the next attack, and so on. Now not all the action is pristine. For example, you’ll get random attack groups just standing up when they should be rushing. You have others who run and do somersaults when they can, you know, go down the stairs slightly.
Unfortunately, the entire film in total does not work. The film has some nice comedy elements, including King and a fun gag of a breathless villain who keeps running to find our hero but misses him. However, the third act is overworked with over-the-top lewd villains like Cooper’s Julius and his right-hand man, Moira (Olga Kurylenko, Quantum of Comfort). Several action scenes at the end start to weigh down the script and are pure filler, even head-scratching as they escape a room to backtrack, which is redundant. The ending doesn’t work and is too cheesy for its own good.
You can have a lot of them, especially the Gen-Z crowd, who will appreciate Princess, which is good – most mainstream success is decided by young people. However, despite all its positive attributes, Princess does not compensate for obvious defects in workmanship.
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The Princess (2022) – Overworked and Redundant review appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.