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Naked Weapon

"Don't believe the hype! This is as undressed as we get!"

Marketing genius: Maggie Q and Anya tease in Naked Weapon.

Chinese: 赤裸特工
Year: 2002  
Director: Ching Siu-Tung
Producer: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Maggie Q, Anya, Daniel Wu, Jewel Li Fei, Cheng Pei-Pei, Almen Wong Pui-Ha, Andrew Lin Hoi, Dennis Chan Kwok-San, Monica Lo Suk-Yi, Carl Ng Ka-Lung
The Skinny: Yet another Wong Jing rehash of Naked Killer, this female fighting flick contains lots of stylized action, and much of it is entertaining. Much of it is also needless, and the rest of the film (story, script, acting) is laughably bad. By default, the Ching Siu-Tung choreography deserves a look, but calling this a good movie would be complete denial.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Babes, bullets and lots of kicking are the selling points of this Naked Killer-rehash, and in that Naked Weapon is a total success. You get babes (gorgeous models Maggie Q and Anya), bullets (there's gunplay), and lots of kicking (Ching Siu-Tung directed). The rest of the film features nonsensical storytelling, egregious English dialogue, laughably bad acting, and some ugly moments that could only be called "tasteless exploitation." Not surprisingly, this is a Wong Jing production.

Naked Weapon tells the tale of a female assassin ring trained and operated by Madame M (Almen Wong). When her one-and-only assassin gets offed, she regroups by kidnapping the world's most athletic and fight-ready young girls, and whisks them away to a private island. There, she subjects them to rigorous training over the course of six years. The girls are schooled in the arts of guns, computers, feminine wiles, and the requisite martial arts. Charlene (Maggie Q), Katt (Anya) and Jill (Jewel Lee) are among them, and the ensuing battle royale leaves them as the designated hitwomen for Madame M's future business exploits.

Of course, this leads to the inevitable problems. Charlene still misses her mother (Cheng Pei-Pei), and jeopardizes a Hong Kong hit by running into her. Meanwhile, dope CIA agent Jack Chen (Daniel Wu) is hot on Charlene's tail. Jack means to arrest Charlene, but he's so nice—and horny—that he finds himself drawn to her. Madame M is hardly happy with Charlene's new distractions, so you expect that she'll do something nasty to retain her property. Plus, ridiculously evil Japanese guy Ryuichi (Andrew Lin) shows up to terrorize the girls and the audience with some heavy overacting. And there's flashes of skin and a love scene, involving involuntary aphrodisiac, a deserted beach and really bad dialogue. To elaborate more would cause pain.

Big surprise: it was Wong Jing who took sole screenwriting credit for this poorly-developed exploitation piece. His plot is stolen from half-a-dozen over films, and the storyline possesses not even a semblance of logic. Why doesn't Charlene, a trained assassin, kill Jack right away? Why doesn't Madame M, who runs an elaborate assassin training program, recognize that her chosen assassins are too compassionate for the job? And shouldn't an internationally-wanted woman who runs a multimillion dollar criminal operation do background checks on her clients? The situations and characters could use a lot more credibility.

Also, the script blows. Wong Jing and Media Asia went the "international distribution" route, and deliver a completely English soundtrack through some sync sound (Daniel Wu and Maggie Q) and some ADR (Anya and Cheng Pei-Pei). Unfortunately, neither the dubbed or the sync speakers sound good in English, because the script is absolutely terrible. The actors aren't so hot themselves (Daniel Wu is hilariously bad, and Maggie Q is one dimensional), but singling anyone out for their lousy acting would ignore the fact that they were really given nothing to say. Not even the cast of The Lord of the Rings could make this stuff sound like anything other than pseudo-hard boiled swill. Your ears may undergo internal hemorrhaging.

Not that it's all bad. The ins-and-outs of Wong Jing's lurid celluloid world certainly look great. The cinematography is pleasingly manufactured, and the women are all leggy and fetchingly made up. Everybody moves in slow motion, and the wind always seems to be blowing at the most appropriate times. Red blooded males everywhere should be happy with the the camera's worship of Maggie Q's form. And there's lots of action, which Ching Siu-Tung serves up in trademark creative style. Some of it is too obviously posed and out of continuity, but for the most part the over-the-top splashiness of it is welcome. Those who watch the film while drunk could find this an entertaining bit of trashy exploitation.

But if you're sober then you may be in trouble. Not only does the dialogue kill brain cells, but Wong Jing's usual misogyny mucks things up. He degrades his starlets as much as the Category IIB rating will allow, heavily reducing the guilty enjoyment factor. The sexual violence he dredges up is more than a little off-putting. Wong Jing has been partial to this stuff before (Raped by an Angel, anyone?), but he seems to hit a new low here. Plus, the film's most heinous acts (by Madame M) go largely unpunished. After what she does to the girls, she deserves more than she gets.

Naked Killer is absolutely superior to Naked Weapon, which may not seem immediately obvious. In truth, Naked Killer contained many of the same tasteless elements that Naked Weapon does, and it wasn't cleverly plotted or scripted, either. And Naked Weapon has more polished action and better production values. But Naked Killer had a marvelously sick sense of humor and some genuinely fun subtext. The women in Naked Killer (Carrie Ng as super-assassin Princess and Chingmy Yau as hitgirl Kitty) killed evil, misogynist men, and the male hero was an impotent cop (Simon Yam). Princess and Kitty killed to assert their power over men, and not just because they were hired to. In that film, the joke was on the sleazy men who found the women sexy, because the women would just as soon take a gun to their privates. Killing is just a job in Naked Weapon. Charlene and Katt kill because they're told to, and that's it. This time out, it looks like the joke is on them. (Kozo 2002)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star/Media Asia
16x9 Widescreen
English and Cantonese Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Find this at YesAsia.com

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd.

   
   
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