Directed by Fok Yiu Leung
Produced by Wong Jing
Written by Wong Jing
Director of Photograpy William Yin
Music by Lowell Lo
Cast: Chingmy Yau, Simon Yam, Carrie Ng & Kelly Yiu
1992/90 mins/Color/5.1 DD
1.85:1 anamorphic/Cantonese/Hong Kong/NTSC Region 1
Review from the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD
There's an episode of THE SIMPSONS where the kids go to an R-rated movie. As they are leaving the theater, Nelson Muntz says, "I can think of two things wrong with that title." The camera then pans up to the marquee to reveal that they had just seen NAKED LUNCH. Something similar can be said of the Hong Kong insanity known as NAKED KILLER. There's not much "naked" in the movie, but there certainly is a ton a of style and action.
NAKED KILLER tells the story of Kitty (Chingmy Yau), a young woman with a hot temper. After stabbing a rude hair-stylist, she returns home to find that her father has been murdered. She then visits the office of the man who killed her dad, and in a very public display, kills about 30 people. But, Kitty is wounded in the shoot-out and needs the assistance of Sister Cindy (Wai Yiu) to escape. Cindy nurtures Kitty back to health, and then reveals that she is a professional assassin, and wants to train Kitty to join the trade. As Kitty is now wanted by the police, and can't return to her former life, she agrees. Cindy reveals that she only kills men who are "scumbags". Meanwhile, police detective Tinam (Simon Yam) is investigating a series of murders, where men were killed and their genitals were mutilated. Is Cindy responsible for these murders, or is there another assassin loose in the area?
It's typically pointless to say that a Hong Kong film is over-the-top, but it is certainly appropriate in the case of NAKED KILLER, as the film piles on the flair and crazy action. Director Fok Yiu Leung has painted the film with an incredible palette, giving each scene many deep colors. This is further compounded by the fashions in the film, as each of the women is immaculately dressed, especially when they are killing. This combination makes the film resemble SEX AND THE CITY with assassins at times. The stylish look of the film is coupled with the kind of action scenes that one would expect from a Hong Kong actioner. There are some truly great set-pieces here, most notably the scene in the parking deck in which Cindy's hat becomes an explosive lethal weapon. The editing of these scenes is very good, although it never explains exactly where all of those henchmen come from!
As for the story in NAKED KILLER, it's very hit or miss. The film clumsily mixes some serious plot-points (Tinam's tortured past) with slapstick comedy and acrobatic action. This mish-mash looks relatively tame when compared to the film's politics. (Yes, I know that it's not wise to search for any deeper meaning in one of these films.) NAKED KILLER may be the most sexist feminist film ever made. The women make it a point to kill men who prey on women, but they do so in a manner that definitely objectifies them. And then, there's the whole lesbian thing that's going on in the film. Let's just say that NAKED KILLER is a highly stylized action film that looks great and offers great fights...just don't think too hard.
NAKED KILLER makes its fourth (at least) appearance on a Region 1 DVD with this new release from Fox. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The picture looks very good, and certainly looks better than many R1 Hong Kong releases. The image does show some minor defects such as small scratches and white spots. Otherwise, the image is very sharp and the abundant colors look fantastic -- the reds, purples, and greens practically leap off of the screen. There is some minor grain and some artifacting, but overall, the transfer looks good. The audio is satisfactory as well. The DVD offers a Cantonese track presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The track offers clear dialogue and sound effects, along with occasional, but impressive surround sound and subwoofer effects. The English 5.1 track sounds fine as well, but, of course, the dubbing is questionable. The English subtitles are clear and very easy to read.
I saw NAKED KILLER years ago on an "import" tape, and I don't remember it very well. This release is 90 minutes long, and through research, I've found that versions as long as 100 minutes exist. However, I don't know enough about the film to say what has been cut out. There is one shot in the trailer showing the women fighting in a gold room which isn't in this cut. So, completists and true fans of the film may be wary of this release. On the plus side, Fox has added a handful of nice extras to this DVD. There are two trailers for NAKED KILLER -- one which is obviously the original Hong Kong trailer, and a new one with English titles. A photo gallery displays 25 stills from the film, one of which is a topless shot that I don't remember from the movie. Next, we have three new interviews with writer/producer Wong Jing, star Simon Yam, and director Fok Yiu Leung, which vary in length from 7 minutes to 10 minutes. Here, they discuss their memories of the film and the impressions that it left on them. A second still gallery contains 14 stills and posters. Finally, there is are text production notes. Also included is a still gallery featuring "Hong Kong Beauty Stars", which shows female stars from many different films.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©