Monday, October 13, 2008

The Last Princess

. Monday, October 13, 2008

Here`s the lastest Nagasawa Masami Movie it called "the Last Princess".

Shinji Higuchi’s remake of Akira Kurosawa`s The Hidden Fortress (screened in LA last week) starts off with a bang. Literally. It’s a startling deviation from the original, almost as if director Higuchi was throwing down a gauntlet and defiantly stating that this was his version of the 1958 blockbuster that had Inspired George Lucas’ Star Wars.

Higuchi’s The Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess stars Jun Matsumoto as the rough-edged, independent miner Takezo, a man who has little to no respect for Japan’s noble families and the samurai who protect them. In an ironic twist of fate, he is joined by a fleeing princess in disguise (played by Masami Nagasawa) and her samurai bodyguard (Hiroshi Abe) as well as a fellow peasant conspirator (Daisuke Miyagawa) as they attempt to smuggle the defeated Akizuki kingdom’s wealth across enemy lines. While there are many nods to Kurosawa’s original story, Higuchi and screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima have added excitement in the form of exploding fortresses and thrilling sword fights that pay homage to George Lucas and his lightsaber duels, everything that a 21st century audience expects from its action films.

While many other directors would be satisfied with the updated special effects and a faster paced story, Higuchi tries to incorporate a romantic storyline that, while integral, seems forced at best. Many action films struggle to find the perfect balance between believable romantic developments and heart-stopping action scenes and while the premise of the budding love affair is understood, because it plays second fiddle to the main plot, the almost too rapid attraction between the beautiful young princess and Matsumoto’s dirt-covered miner is hardly believable. But in a movie that blends breathtaking cinematography and amazingly well choreographed fight scenes, this romantic blip is easily forgiven.

It also doesn’t hurt than Hiroshi Abe, stepping into the intimidating shoes of Toshihiro Misune, gives a subtly deft performance as general Rokurota. Daisuke Miyagawa’s simplistically greedy Shinpachi plays a perfect foil to Jun Matsumoto’s independent and intelligent Takezo. Both actors slip easily into the unenviable roles of impoverished peasants that toil endlessly at the whim of an ungrateful aristocracy and create a comedic chemistry that maintains the levity that Kurosawa’s own Hidden Fortress is known for. Masami Nagasawa is as beautiful as she is talented, playing the role of a naïve princess whose eyes are quickly opened to the harsh realities of the world outside of her pampered palace. And unlike Kurosawa’s original, it is not only the princess who grows during this life and death journey. Each of the four main characters develop a better understanding of their fellow man as a result of their forced interaction with one another.

With a stellar cast and an action-packed story, Higuchi has the makings of a blockbuster hit on his hands. The Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess will appeal to not only the Japanese audience that it’s intended for but it has a commercial appeal that will easily cross any language and cultural barriers. In fact, it could hold its own with any of the summer blockbusters that Hollywood is planning on releasing this year.


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