The Princess (2022)

The Princess
Director: Le-Van Kiet
Writer: Ben Lustig, Jake Thornton
Cast: Joey King, Dominic Cooper, Olga Kurylenko, Veronica Ngo, Katelyn Rose Downey, Alex Reid, Ed Stoppard, Kristofer Kamiyasu
Seen on: 14.9.2022

The Princess (Joey King) wakes up in a room at the top of the castle tower. She is wearing a wedding dress and chains. Slowly she realises that Julius (Dominic Cooper), king of the neighboring country, is in the middle of a coup and her family is in grave danger. But The Princess is not as easy a victim as Julius has probably imagined. She takes up her sword and will fight her way to her family and save her kingdom. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

The Princess is a fun action film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It does think it is more feminist than it is, but that’s pretty much its biggest flaw. Other than that it is done well enough to give us an entertaining 90 minutes.

The film poster showing the Princess (Joey King) crouched with a sword in hand.

You really shouldn’t expect too much of The Princess. The story is moderately creative, filled with stereotypical characters (in the case of Veronica Ngo’s Linh and Kristofer Kamiyasu’s Khai, those stereotypes are racist, with Olga Kurylenko’s Moira there’s a thread of misogyny) and rather bad dialogues. Steeping everything in a girlboss message that the film mistakes for feminism (and that probably would feel less like pandering if the film hadn’t been made by men) doesn’t really help either.

After this paragraph, you might think that I’m sending mixed messages, as I started by saying that the film is fun and entertaining. But it actually does manage to be that despite its weaknesses, thanks to a few things that it gets very right: First, the action scenes are really nice, especially the one where The Princess fights her way out of the tower that has a distinctly Raid vibe to it.

The Princess (Joey King) standing over a dead body, sword in hand.

Secondly, Joey King does a really good job with her rather underdeveloped character, making it easily possible to root for her. Equally great casting decisions were Kurylenko and Cooper as the evil duo. They fully lean into their respective roles and ham it up, and it’s just really fun to watch them be bad together.

With its short runtime, the film knows not to overstay its welcome and it really is entertaining for the time it lasts, even if it isn’t, objectively, a particularly good film.

The Princess (Joey King) holding up her sword in a fighting pose.

Summarizing: fun if you don’t expect too much.

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