StreamFocus: Samurai Princess

Samurai Princess
Runtime: 82 min, Grade: D, Netflix Page

Arterial spouting, breast grenades, eyeballs and fingers flying following robot attacks, light speed spinning in place, and humans mistakenly eating on human-body-part soup -- and that's just the first 6 minutes of Samurai Princess, before the opening title credit. The rest of this schlocky Kengo Kaji-directed blood fest accomplishes little more, spurting out grotesque images rendered for the pure sake of tossing them on-screen. Underneath all the perverse satisfaction in splaying gore in front our our vision, however, you'll find slapdash, unsatisfying combat and a story that's barely fleshed out enough to keep the river of blood flowing to the nonsensically bizarre conclusion.

Samurai Princess doesn't tell you in its title, but it's actually about a "Mecha" cyborg girl (Aino Kishi) acting out her vengeance-filled orders to "right" the actions of other machines. See, mechanized droids live among normal people in the future, but their contorted (or miswired?) personalities have issues with grasping normalcy while constructing their death-riddled "art". Our samurai princess has been programmed (and reconstructed) to hunt down deviants and, apparently, kill them in grotesque ways, though we learn that she's got a deeper side to her as well when she reflects on her past -- all photographed in obvious pink-drenched color timing to emphasize the past-nature of the sequences. Drama intermingles with the story once she hooks up with her guitar-swinging compadre in the form of romance and secondary plot developments, but they're more for the exploitation aspect of the picture than anything else.

Shot on the cheap with most of the budget going towards make-up and costume, Samurai Princess concentrates heavily on psychedelic violence-drenched brutality. Human body parts soar everywhere in this picture, with plenty of both computer-generated and hand-crafted blood spraying in all directions. Its sole focus is to replicate a level of anime-style grotesqueness that's weak without the acting or narrative to really back it up, lending very little reason to actually delve into the picture unless the mood demands for a stream of laughs at outlandish effects. You'll find influence from Army of Darkness, Takashi Miike, and Tetsuo: The Iron Man scattered throughout, yet it lacks of the tangible punchy laughs or stirring macabre eeriness present in those gag-heavy pictures -- even though the production design and computer-generated effects are noteworthy on this level.

So, what we have left are a handful of blasé fights and the resemblance of a storyline draped in front of metal-heavy music accompaniment, and neither are enough to keep our interest afloat. It's understood that Kenjo Kaji's picture fits snugly into a sub-genre of boobs and brutality built from the ground up just for kicks; however, the flickers of action in the flick should have fast-paced maneuvering and thrilling theatrics behind the bombardment of bloodiness. Unlike Tetsuo: The Iron Man, where the creativity hops behind the steering wheel and swirls around a bizarrely vexing experience, Samurai Princess simply writhes, clanks, and sputters along without a sense of creepiness. It's more of a modern-era Japanese exploitation flick without much of a shred of excitement about the brawl sequences -- a bloody rampage that's heavy on blood, light on the rampage.


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