Director Le-Van Kiet brings plenty of action and a certain visual style to this slightly claustrophobic concept, which takes place almost entirely within the confines of this castle, as the princess fights her way through an assortment of obstacles and of enemies who are much, much bigger than her.
How she’s able to do this is explained via flashbacks, but the film isn’t overly concerned with plot or detail, other than the fact that the psychopathic suitor the princess dumped (played by Dominic Cooper) and her main henchwoman (“Quantum of Solace’s” Olga Kurylenko) are utterly ruthless and ready to kill anyone who interferes with their plans, including the princess’s family.
The film has a certain sense of humor, but it’s mostly expressed in cartoonish ways, like the overweight guard who spends an inordinate amount of time huffing and puffing up the tower’s stairs, or a quick kick at the groin which proves surprisingly ineffective.
While the film runs in 90 minutes, it’s hard to discern precisely who this was aimed at, as the action – gruesome as it is at times – feels relatively small, while being too hardcore to play much. beyond this audience base. In that sense, it feels like another take on Fox that parent company Disney (understandably, in this case) didn’t quite know how to handle in terms of marketing.
Not that the world can’t use an ass-kicking princess right now, but it would have helped deliver an army of them with a little more substance than that.
“The Princess” premieres July 1 on Hulu in the United States and as an Original Star on Disney+ internationally.