Dragon Princess

July 31, 2017 at 12:36 am (5 Heads, Dragon Princess) (, , , , , )

Dragon Princess – 1976 – Japan

Kazuma (played by Sonny Chiba) is a karate instructor in Tokyo. Assassins, hired by a rival instructor, attack Kazuma in front of his young daughter, Yumi. He survives with a crippled arm and a missing eye, but flees Japan to protect Yumi. Living in a seedy Manhattan apartment (these probably don’t exist in real life), Kazuma is a drunk who only cares about getting revenge and training Yumi in karate. He berates her, beats her, and makes her stand in the snow with bare feet. When Yumi writes in her diary, “I hope I never hear the word ‘karate’ again!”, Kazuma is somehow surprised.

When Kazuma eventually dies, Yumi inexplicably decides to get revenge on her father’s enemies. She returns to Tokyo and battles the members of a crooked karate school. When her own arm is permanently crippled, she resorts to Ninja-like trickery to kill her foes. In the end, Yumi gets her revenge. As a result, she is disabled, has no friends and no life.

Dragon Princess is a pessimistic kung-fu film. The characters have no motivation other than revenge or lust for power. Tokyo is depicted as a lawless place controlled by gangsters and corrupt politicians. A sympathetic young man character seems like a love interest for Yumi, but they actually don’t even become friends. Even the karate combat itself seems mean-spirited and lacks grace. At one point, Yumi beats the crap out of a pack of doberman pinschers.

One assassin is a blind man who walks with a crutch. Kazuma has one eye and a lame arm. Yumi has her arm disabled as well. These wounds are probably supposed to demonstrate the characters’ determination. Even debilitating physical injuries won’t dampen their desire to kill.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. In one scene, two people get naked and have sex while simultaneously dancing at a nightclub. This is sort of interesting to watch.

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