“When a strong-willed princess refuses to wed the cruel sociopath, she is kidnapped and locked in a remote tower of her father’s castle. With her vindictive suitor intent on taking her father’s throne, the princess must save the kingdom.”

Director: La-Van Kiet
Writers: Ben Lustig, Jake Thornton
Staring: Joey King, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic Cooper, Veronica Ngo
Release Date: July 1, 2022

When you turn on The Princess, you will see a princess, a king, a queen and an evil prince. The stereotypes are all there. You will also see decapitations, hangings, bloody sword fights and tower-climbing parkour.

The Princess is rated R for strong/bloody violence and some language, and that distinction is well earned. Joey King, who plays The Princess, begins the story in handcuffs but immediately ensnares the attention of the audience smashing a dude to his death and sending another one out a window to his demise. The Princess does not mess around.

The hero of the story is a woman of no name, but she is of royal standing. She has wanted to be a warrior all her life but her hobbies and interest did not please her father, the King (Ed Stoppard). The Princess’ mother…the Queen (Alex Reid), allowed her daughter to practice in the woods with the guidance of Khai (Kristofer Kamiyasu) and Moira (Olga Kurylenko).

All this training pays off when The Princess rebels against marrying the evil and malicious Julius (Dominic Cooper). She is at first captured, when we first meet her in the cuffs, but she breaks free and starts thrashing her way through Julius’ band of bumbling armored gentleman.

In the end it is The Princess vs. Julius. Who will come out on top as the hero of the kingdom?

Yes it is really predictable…but if you were thinking something different then you had another thing coming.

The shock value of the violence and gore in The Princess makes a recommendation for anyone who enjoys action movies. The choreography and storytelling through physical action is told nearly all through the main character, The Princess, played by Joey King.

Joey King is reported to have done 90% of her own stunts, which is impressive.

Joey King is most known for The Kissing Booth (2018) trilogy (I have refused to watch the two sequels), but she did appear in three blockbusters in the early 2010s: The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Conjuring (2013) and White House Down (2013). This movie is a departure from the casting valley she found herself in. Her physical nature is impressive, and true heart-filled line reading dialogue is not necessary to be good at this part. She excels in the most important areas and she raises the floor of what anyone’s expectations of The Princess should be.

The best performer in the movie is Dominic Cooper. He plays the deplorable villain wonderfully. Cooper understood the assignment. If you want a Gaston-esq looking bad guy with a dose of vile language and eagerness for blood, then this portrayal of a dastardly villain beautifully.

Cooper’s face is a classic “oh it is that guy” face. He is recognizable from the lead role in Warcraft (2016) and the boyfriend/fiancé in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) and Mamma Mia! (2008). TV and comic book fans can see him as Jesse Custer, AKA Preacher which aired on AMC. Cooper adds to his “oh I like that guy” reputation.

Dominic Cooper as Julius

The most shocking part of The Princess is that is is directed by Le-Van Kiet, who made the worst movie of 2022…The Requin (2022).

Do you need a refreshed on The Requin?. It is the horrendous shark movie that makes clipping toenails and wiping up cat litter a more entertaining proposition than actually watching the movie.

Opening up IMDB and seeing Le-Van Kiet next to Director had me utterly shook, but credit where credit is due. Kiet here manages a very entertaining movie that doesn’t put an emphasis on anything too serious and instead owns all the fun this genre can offer. This is the last of three movies that Kiet is putting out in 2022. The one I haven’t seen is The Ancestral (2022), which is about a Vietnamese (he is Vietnamese) family that moves into a haunted house.

Do I need to watch it to complete the trilogy of this calendar year? Maybe. but not likely.

The Princess is streaming on Hulu.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

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