RaEL Film Guide

Naked Weapon
Dir:
Tony Ching Siu Tung [Media Star/Mega Star DVD]



Looking at the cover art/movie poster and that the film is produced by Wong Jing, those with longer memories must be expecting a modern-day remake of the producer's successful Naked Killer (1992).

Unlike the earlier film, in Naked Weapon, the sex is very much toned down - there is a bit of nudity (fleeting shots of bare breasts but nothing to get unduly excited about) - and the homoerotic angle in Naked Killer is practically gone (here it is turned into a deep friendship between two women - Charlene (Maggie Q or Maggie Quigley) and Katt (Anya Wu).

A group of promising sports people and potential martial artists - all young girls - are lured/abducted by Madame M (Almen Wong) and brought to a remote island where they undergo intensive training for six years and are turned into assassins. Again, the potential for some steamy Big Doll House type of prison-fare never materialises. So, this is a Ching Siu Tung (Heroic Trio, Chinese Ghost Story) movie and while some of the girls look wacko, especially Jill (Jewel Lee), they certainly are chaste. For their graduation programme, the girls have to fight off each other ala Battle Royale style until only one remains. Of course, Madame M breaks her house rules and allows not one but three girls to live. As a sort of farewell gift, the three girls are raped, a message to say that their bodies are not even sacred.

The girls' missions take them all over the world and they end up in Hongkong where Charlene meets up with her mother (Cheng Pei Pei). All this while, Madame M and her China Doll assassins are being investigated by CIA agent Jack (Daniel Wu), who also falls in love with Charlene. In her attempt to kill Cheng Pei Pei, Jill is killed by Charlene but Madame M, Charlene and Katt have to fend for themselves when they come against the ruthless Ryuichi who pretends to hire their services.

Originally shot in English (is Ching aiming for a Hollywood stint?), though there is a Cantonese dialogue track on the DVD, the dialogue is stiff. As for narrative flaws, it is hard to think of these supposedly hardened assassins to be so emotionally brittle, especially between Charlene and Katt. And one wonders what kind of hold Madame M has over her killers?

Folks watch a Ching Siu Tung movie for its action and here he does not disappoint. There is an ingenious move that leads to the breaking of the spine and an interesting manner in which the lens of a pair of sunglasses can be turned into a deadly weapon. Overall, the action set pieces are well set up and executed, though it is obvious Ching had Matrix in mind - especially the freeze frames and balletic moves.

Overall, this movie is for Ching Siu Tung fans and anyone really hard up for some action, babe or otherwise. (6 for the action) - Stephen Tan






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