Combustible Celluloid
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With: Yumiko Shaku, Hideaki Ito, Shiro Sano, Yoichi Numata, Kyusaku Shimada, Yoko Chosokabe, Yoko Maki, Naomasa Musaka, Yutaka Matsushige, Shintarou Sonooka, Takashi Tsukamoto
Written by: Shinsuke Sato, Kei Kunii, based on a comic by Kazuo Kamimura, Kazuo Koike
Directed by: Shinsuke Sato
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence
Language: Japanese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 93
Date: 12/15/2001

The Princess Blade (2001)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Blade' to Order

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Choreographed by Donny Yen (Iron Monkey, Blade II), this Japanese swordfighting film takes place in a dismal-looking future, where a band of roving assassins take on all comers. One fighter, Yuki (Yumiko Shaku) breaks with the group on her 20th birthday when she finds a greater destiny left by her mother. Wounded after a battle, she finds refuge with a rebel, Takashi (Hideaki Ito), and plots her revenge. Director Shinsuke Sato gives the film a minimalist look with muted colors and little dialogue. The beautiful, elegant swordfights are filmed clearly and poetically, and even the down-time between battles doesn't drag too badly. If you thought Bad Boys II or Terminator 3 were cool, you need to see this; it's the best pure action movie in ages.

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