Note: Screen grabs from HKL version.
"Just sit back, and look good..."
Kitty (Chingmy) takes bloody vengence for her father's murder, and finds herself wounded and on the run from the Hong Kong police. She comes under the wing of Sister Cindy, a professional assassin. Also cutting a gory swathe through Hong Kong's most corrupt criminals is lesbian hit-woman Princess (Carrie Ng), aided and abetted by her sidekick Baby. The cop assigned to investigate the murders, Tinam (Simon Yam) is still traumatised by the shoot out that led to his brother's death, so much so that he vomits at the site of a gun. He falls for Kitty's seductive charms, and finds himself caught in the cross fire between the various feisty femme fatales. Director Clarence Fok's classic has become the subject of wordwide cult following, and deservedly so.
After a long run of Category III explotation films, and other films which portrayed most women as either weak and helpless victims, or merely sex objects, in 1992 Wong Jing and Clarence Fok released Naked Killer onto the audiences, and breathed new life into the Femme Fatale genre. The film paired three well known actors & actresses together in a Category III film which was different to many others. It was very stylish, and had a plot, good acting, action, violence, romance, and, of course, sex (lesbian and straight), and combined them into a film which has attained cult status worldwide. For some this is a Marmite film, you'll either love it, or hate it, and I have to say that I am in the former category.
"Don't mess with me. I gotta gun."
First off let me get any preconceptions out of the way. Despite the title and its possibly misleading imagery, none of the killers in this film go around killing in the nude. While I doubt many guys would have complained if they did, let's just leave it at 'they do not', and don't go into this film with those hopes!
"I'm stylish and deadly... what a combination!"
The film's main star is Chingmy Yau. She plays Kitty, a woman who hates seeing other woman being treated like sh!t by men. One evening when she witnesses her father being killed by a crime boss, she plans to take her revenge. Storming the boss' office, she leaves bodies in her wake, and eventually manages to escape, injured but still in one piece. Her escape was only possibly, though, due to the help of Sister Cindy - a hit woman who takes Kitty under her wing.
"I'm just a regular cop. I'm supposed to be thick!"
Prior to this incident, Kitty had become involved with Tinam (Simon Yam), a cop investigating a series of contract like killings thought to have been carried out by a group of female assassins. The office incident, however, puts them on opposite sides, as Tinam is involved in the case to arrest the assassins. While Kitty is being trained by Sister Cindy in the most effective and easiest way to kill men, Cindy's old student, Princess (Carrie Ng), and her student/lover Baby, are also out performing hits on various members of the underworld. Their paths ultimately cross when Princess and Baby are hired to kill Sister Cindy and Kitty, in revenge for an assassination which the two performed.
"Damn, I've got my hair wet..."
"Take two bottles into the shower? I just shoot, and go!"
I think that'll do as far as the plot is concerned, as any more detail will spoil it a little. But while the film does have a plot, it is not Naked Killer's main selling point. This is a femme fatale action film, and it would never have got anywhere without some decent action, and fortunately there is plenty of it. There are 4 main scenes where the action takes place. The first is in the office block when Kitty is out to kill the boss who killed her father. It is mostly gun stuff, but once they get to the car park and Sister Cindy gets involved it becomes really good stuff! Sure some of it is quite unbelievable, but it is great to watch. The second scene is when Princess comes for Sister Cindy. It is a bit short lived, but there is fighting and guns, and the nameless drone bad guys who die very easily! The third is when Kitty attempts to kill Princess, again it is mostly gun stuff once Tinam comes to her aid. As usual there are the bad guy drones, who pretty much just turn up with a gun to get shot. One day one these drone bad guys will learn how to aim! The last scene is the final fight between Princess, Kitty and Tinam. There is a bit more martial arts stuff in this one, but again it is mainly guns. All in all the action is pretty good. The martial arts may not be top notch, but none of the women in the film are martial artists, so you've got to forgive them a little for this. Regardless, I still thouroughly enjoyed it all.
"How lazy can you be... I have to aim your arm as well?"
"Mmmmm hello... How you doin'?"
One of the best qualities of this film, in my opinion, is the acting. You don't get many Category III films where the acting is above par, but here in Naked Killer there is one. Simon Yam is, as ever, excellent in his role. He is among the most versatile actors around in Hong Kong, and it seems whatever his role is, he can pull it off superbly. Chingmy Yau and Carrie Ng also pull of credible performances, with Carrie being particularly convincing at times as a lesbian assassin! Another thing which also struck me while watching this film was the colours used throughout. The colours in many scenes are very vibrant, with reds being very bright red, and likewise with the greens etc. This helped bring the film more to life, and more pleasing to watch, rather than it all just being dull colours empty of intensity and feeling.
"See! Her neck is way fatter than mine!"
Overall, Naked Killer ranks among my favourite femme fatale action films, and also possibly one of the films I find easiest to watch upon repeat viewings. There are many films which I have seen which are very good films, but despite this they do not have that repeat viewing factor. Fortunately for me Naked Killer does have it, and it is a film I have yet to become tired of.
"A knife to my throat or not, I'm going to smile at you!"
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