The Princess Warrior Featured, Reviews Film Threat

Mar 9, 2024

The Princess Warrior is also known as Princess Khutulun, which is the better title. See, this dramatic action epic directed by S. Baasanjargal and Shuudertsetseg Baatarsuren and written by Baatarsuren and Boldkhuyag Damdinsuren, is about Princess Khutulun, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. The new title is too easily confused for the likes of The Princess And The Warrior, Warrior Princess, The Princess Blade, and/or the late 1980s comedy Princess Warrior (this is why A, An, The, etc., are essential). Why the poorly thought-out title change? Who knows? No matter what it’s called, is the Mongolia-based film entertaining?
From a young age, Khutulun (Tsedoo Munkhbat) has shown great prowess in combat and weapons training. As she’s grown, alongside her father, King Kaidu Khan (Gerelsukh Otgon), Khutulun has led her people to many victories. Unfortunately, as a woman, she is expected to marry and live a domesticated life. News of her betrothal to the prince of a neighboring clan doesn’t sit well, but she goes to meet him and his delegation. During their travels, the fabled Golden Sutra is stolen by Khubilai, who desires to become the new great emperor of Yuan. The princess resolves to retrieve the stolen manuscript and set things right in her homeland. But saying that is easier said than done, as rival clans, former friends, and a princess’s “proper place” culminate to try and undermine Khutulun’s confidence.
The most shocking thing about The Princess Warrior is not the stunning costumes or sumptuous cinematography. No, it is the 86-minute runtime that is most surprising. For such an epic tale involving generational differences, political maneuvering, and a little bit of magic (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), the film is short. This is a good and bad thing. The positives include an economical use of scenes with minimal repetition. As soon as the film begins, the narrative is galloping at full speed. Even the few scenes where the characters are pausing to breathe, so to speak, serve their purpose, and the film continues. It is all very interesting, mainly thanks to the excellent dialogue, such as Khutulun asking why she was even born human if she’s not free to live her own life. It is all compelling stuff.

“The princess resolves to retrieve the stolen manuscript and set things right in her homeland.”
The negative side of such a concise runtime is all the supporting characters. Khutulun’s inner circle of warriors includes Hawk, Eagle, Wolf, and Bear. Aside from how the characters’ respective actors look, anyone watching would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between any of them. The villains have a witch of sorts, and she is also underutilized. She has two main scenes, and she is not exactly the most helpful in each of them.
But The Princess Warrior overcomes that due to sheer showmanship. The costumes are perfect, ornately detailed, and beautiful. B. Ganat’s cinematography captures the rugged beauty of Mongolia in every frame. Most importantly, though, the action sequences are spectacular. The wide lens captures the clan clashes without losing focus. Night raids on encampments are intimate and exciting.
Meh title aside, The Princess Warrior is an exhilarating and engaging historical epic. The feature’s brevity does mean the side characters are not as fleshed out as the three leads. But everything else — the cinematography, costume design, action, Khutulun’s arc, and acting — is top-tier and brilliantly handled.

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