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
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 niceand
hornythat 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
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.