Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing have dropped the official trailer for the Brazilian action thriller film Yakuza Princess, starring Japanese American singer MASUMI and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors). The action-packed trailer explores the dangerous world of the Japanese mafia. Rhys Meyers’ character Shiro teams up with a strange woman who wields a highly coveted katana sword. The official synopsis for the film can be read below.
“Set in the expansive Japanese community of Sao Paulo in Brazil – the largest Japanese diaspora in the world – YAKUZA PRINCESS follows Akemi (MASUMI), an orphan who discovers she is the heiress to half of the Yakuza crime syndicate. Forging an uneasy alliance with an amnesiac stranger (Rhys Meyers) who believes an ancient sword binds their two fates, Akemi must unleash war against the other half of the syndicate who wants her dead.”
The two-minute footage of the trailer introduces Akemi as a woman who has the potential to be a great warrior if she can learn to be “one with her sword.” Meanwhile, Jonathan Rhys Meyers‘ character wakes up with no memory of the past but the many wounds on his body. A chance meeting between Akemi and Shiro links their fate due to an ancient katana sword in their possession which the Japanese mafia covets
The action scenes are raw and bloody, and clearly take a lot of inspiration from Japanese anime and gangster films. There also appears to be a Kill Bill reference thrown in at the 01:20 mark, when Akemi can be seen killing a woman dressed in a yellow jumpsuit with her katana. The director of the movie had previously described Yakuza Princess as a coming-of-age revenge drama about a female swordmaster, not unlike Kill Bill.
“In ‘Yakuza Princess’ we threw out the playbook and pushed the boundaries of genre all the way in a bloodthirsty action movie about a Japanese girl’s coming-of-age and revenge. I’ve been waiting to make a movie like this all my life.”
A major theme that appears to run through the narrative of Yakuza Princess is learning to understand and deal with your past. In the case of Shiro, this theme is quite literal, since he has no memory of his past and is on a journey to fill the blanks via kicking and punching.
For Akemi, the journey seems to be about accepting her status as a progeny of a powerful Yakuza crime family without letting it dictate her future. It will be interesting to see how the movie will resolve these two conflicts, and what role the ancient katana at the center of the plot has to play in the whole thing.
Based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro by Danilo Beyruth, Yakuza Princess is directed by Vicente Amorim, with a screenplay by Amorim, Fernando Toste, Kimi Lee, and Tubaldini Shelling. This will be MASUMI’s big-screen debut. The movie has been set for a premiere at this year’s Fantasia Festival with screenings on August 18 and 20 before being released in theaters on September 3.