VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists,
plus regular prize draws.
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS
visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies
cast: Jun Matsumoto, Kippei Shiina, Masami Nagasawa, Daisuke Miyagawa, and Hiroshi Abe
director: Shinji Higuchi
118 minutes (15) 2008
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
4Digital Media DVD Region 2 retail
review by Alexandra Bunning
Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess
When Princess Yuki (Masami Nagasawa)'s country, the wealthy land of Akizuki, is attacked and occupied by the poor but ambitious country of
Yamana, she finds that - as the last member of the royal family - she must attempt to escape to the neighbouring country of Hayakawa with
Akizuki's famed wealth. Whilst holed up in mountain caverns, she comes across bumbling duo Takezo (Jun Matsumoto) and Shinpachi (Daisuke
Miyagawa), who, lured by the prospect of such a large stash of gold, promise Yuki's faithful bodyguard, the samurai Rokurota (Hiroshi Abe),
that they will be able to guide them through enemy territory, and into Hayakawa.
And so begins a highly improbable and ultimately boring tale of the angst-ridden Princess' travels to Hayakawa, accompanied by the terribly
unfunny slapstick hi-jinks of Takezo and Shinpachi, and the long-suffering Rokurota, who - thanks to Yuki's overpowering sense of nobility and
apparent total lack of intellect forcing her to seek out her pursuers and tell them her identity on the off chance that they might stop killing
her people - must pull her out of scrape after scrape. Following them is the ubiquitous baddie character, Gyobu (Kippei Shiina), complete with
I feel that Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess (aka: Kakushi toride no san akunin - The last princess) could have been so much
better. It has all the hallmarks of an enjoyable swashbuckling adventure, but none of the pieces quite fit. The characterisations feel minimal,
and even Takezo, the everyman character, seems a two-dimensional caricature of himself. Shinpachi's supposed comic relief grates, and Nagasawa's
attempt at a spoiled princess is totally unsympathetic. Only Abe's Rokurota is at all believable.
The storyline was action-packed, but this action often fell flat, even when two of the characters somehow manage the superhuman feat of riding
a horse out of an exploding mountain. The half-hearted attempt at creating a burgeoning romance between Yuki and Takezo is so much of an
afterthought you can't help wondering why they bothered.
Despite all of this, I do think Hidden Fortress' 'once upon a time' fairytale style would probably do well with a children's audience.
This is unfortunate however, because the violence has forced the certification up to a 15. I really wanted to like this film, but was left
feeling that I had wasted two hours of my life. If you're looking for an entertaining adventure movie, I suggest watching Akira Kurosawa's
original, but give this one a miss.