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Issue #140a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES December 30th, 2002

Naked Killer
(1992; Wong Jing's Workshop)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Chik loh go yeung
Mandarin: Chi luo gao yang
English: Naked Lamb

A deliciously stylish and exploitative re-working of LA FEMME NIKITA and BASIC INSTINCT along the lines of a Japanese manga, this Wong Jing Category III production has developed a substantial cult following in Western fan circles for reasons that are pretty easy to surmise. Beautiful young hellion Kitty (Chingmy Yau Suk-ching) is due for an extended stay behind bars, after going on a shooting rampage to avenge the death of her father. However, before she can be apprehended by the police, the girl is recruited by the mysterious Sister Cindy (Kelly Yiu Wai, billed simply as "Kelly"), who trains her to be a ruthless assassin. Romancing unstable, impotent cop Tinam (Simon Yam Tat-wah) on the side, Kitty settles into her new identity effortlessly but danger emerges in the lithe form of psychotic lesbian killer, Princess (Carrie Ng Kar-lai). One of Cindy's former students, Princess (who has been displaying her utter disregard for the male species by leaving a string of castrated corpses all over Hong Kong) wants her teacher's beautiful young protégé for herself and it would seem that Kitty has no say in the matter.

Chingmy Yau.

Carrie Ng.
Above images courtesy Hong Kong Legends.
Above images have ZOOM links. Click on picture for larger image.

One of the rare occasions where director Clarence Fok Yiu-leung's eye for style and near-total disregard for narrative discipline somehow results in a satisfying whole, this is a male adolescent's wet dream transposed to celluloid: deadly but supremely desirable women clad in (and out) of designer fashions, thrillingly brutal violence, lightning paced action, grossout humor (a dimwitted homicide cop investigating one of Princess' hits accidentally devours the victim's severed penis!) and a politically incorrect approach to just about everything and everybody (one of Cindy's "training sessions" consists of locking Kitty in the cellar with a drooling rapist, and Princess and her accommodating sextoy, Baby [Sugawara Madoka], make love in a swimming pool stained red with the blood of their latest victim). Attractively photographed by William Yim Wai-lun (with several sequences bathed in blue, the favorite hue of HK cinematographers) and adeptly scored by Lowell Lo Kwun-ting in a variety of musical styles, NAKED KILLER is illogical, superficial, morally untenable (women are by far the stronger gender here but still never stray beyond the stereotypical roles favored by the overwhelmingly male target audience for Wong Jing product), and an utterly enthralling guilty pleasure from beginning to end. The memorable trailer (footage from which is used in the title sequence) was photographed by ace cinematographer Peter Pau Tak-hei (THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR, CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON). A poorly-received, in-name-only sequel, NAKED WEAPON, is now available on DVD from Mega Star.

Cover art courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Chingmy Yau. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Yau (left) and Kelly Yiu (right). Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Simon Yam. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.
Hong Kong Legends/Medusa #MDV 590 (UK Label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Cantonese and English Language Tracks (both post-synched)

Optional English and Dutch Subtitles

28 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Stills

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (1.75:1)

Coded for Region 2 Only

Macrovision Encoded

PAL Format

93 Minutes (25 frames-per-second)

Contains brutal violence, nudity, sexual content, and coarse language

DVD menu courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Australia: R*
British Columbia: R (Frequent Violence, Some Nudity, Suggestive Scenes, Very Coarse Language)*
Great Britain: 18
Hong Kong: III*
Netherlands: 16
Ontario: R (Brutal Violence)*
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]*
Spain: 18*

*Refers to edited HK theatrical version


Clarence Fok. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends
The quality conscious folks at Hong Kong Legends have delivered another outstanding special edition that far surpasses previous releases of NAKED KILLER. Their disc offers Clarence Fok's original cut of the picture, which runs several minutes longer than the HK theatrical release and earlier tapes and DVDs. HKL's packaging claims that their release represents the DVD premiere for this cut but Mega Star's NTSC DVD is identical in content and has been available for the better part of two years. HKL's packaging also makes the outlandish claim that the British Board of Film Censors somehow prevented the release of this picture in the past because of an aversion to its combination of sex and violence. However,
both the HK theatrical version and this cut were passed intact by the BBFC, who only had problems with NAKED KILLER 2 (a retitled version of RAPED BY AN ANGEL, an Andrew Lau Wai-keung movie that has nothing to do with Fok's picture).

Those minor caveats out of the way, there is little else but superlatives to lavish on this disc. The 16:9 PAL presentation looks spotless and the colors boast a richness and accuracy that is integral to the success of such a carefully designed feature. Mild grain is sometimes evident but this is intrinsic to the cinematography and not a fault of the transfer. The 5.1 re-mix has some good separations but is not as bassy as one would like and the rear channels are not really utilized. In addition to the Cantonese track, there is an atrocious English dub that turns the movie from intentionally campy into out-and-out ridiculous. Speaking of unintentional laughs, the original English translation was filled with howlers. Thankfully, HKL's new subtitles are a 100% improvement, though some North American viewers may chuckle at the use of exceedingly Anglo terms like "shagging." This extended cut restores dialogue regarding the aforementioned penis that was loudly bleeped in other Cantonese versions, as well as some bloodshed. The most notable example of the latter occurs during Princess' first hit: when Carrie Ng rams the two barbells into her victim's head, a torrent of blood now sprays out all over the camera lens! There are also some additional scenes, during Cindy's training of Kitty, that add an extra, sensual aspect to their relationship, making them seem more like lovers and less like teacher and student. In addition to the aforementioned bits, Tinam and his partner (Hui Shiu-hung) have an extra exchange in the final third, though this scene is largely disposable.

Fok and stuntman Jude Poyer can be heard on an enlightening commentary track. The former reveals that, while Wong Jing did want to somewhat imitate BASIC INSTINCT, the real inspiration was Chor Yuen's period Shaw Brothers production INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN (1972). The director (who had not seen the uncut version prior to the recording) also translates some of the Cantonese in-jokes (involving the sexual meaning of Tinam's name and Kitty's pager number) and reveals that Kelly Yiu's part was originally to have been played by Josephine Siao Fong-fong (who dropped out one week before shooting, due to her apprehension about being in a Category III film). The infamous penis eating bit was added during production by Wong Jing (who felt that there was not enough humor in the movie and had Dennis Chan Kwok-san shoot the scene) and Princess' trademark gloves were not so much a fetish accessory as an aid for Carrie Ng, who did not feel comfortable touching the other women in such an intimate fashion. Fok also talks about the Malaysian version, which features numerous cuts, while adding three additional scenes that turn Kitty into an undercover cop! Poyer keeps things moving along and proves adept at spotting the mix of locations used in the movie's impossible geography.

Sugawara Madoka as "Baby".

Sugawara and Carrie Ng.

Chingmy Yau.
Above images courtesy Hong Kong Legends.
Above images have ZOOM links. Click on picture for larger image.

"Chingmy Yau Revealed" is not a gallery of here-to-fore unseen nude photos but rather a biography/filmography. Of more interest is an interview gallery featuring Fok, Wong Jing, and Simon Yam. The director's segment (25 mins.) inevitably rehashes some info covered in the commentary but there are quite a few fresh bits too, like the reasons behind his turning down the still unproduced BASIC INSTINCT 2 (ironically, producer Mario Kassar had not seen NAKED KILLER but wanted Fok because of REMAINS OF A WOMAN). We also learn that Michelle Yeoh and Anita Mui were early choices for Kitty but neither actress was interested, and Loletta Lee and Fennie Yuen were asked to portray Baby but passed because of the nudity (Lee, however, did an about face on this and started doing C-III films the next year).Yau received three months of martial arts training prior to shooting from Shaw Brothers veteran Yeung Ching-ching, who also doubled her for the most difficult moves. Wong Jing's discussion (16 mins) covers the differences between HK and Hollywood production styles, the importance of anticipating trends, and why American studios are interested in hiring Chinese directors. Those who love Simon Yam for his flamboyance will adore his 21 minute segment. The ever-animated actor professes his admiration for Yuen Woo-ping and some co-stars (including Jet Li, with whom he would like to do an intimate scene!), and also discusses his love of commercial films ("The mass audience -- they love me!"). In addition to the Peter Pau-shot trailer, there are also very well edited HKL promo spots for this film, plus NINJA IN THE DRAGON'S DEN, MR. VAMPIRE, BODY WEAPON, POLICE ASSASSINS (the UK title for YES, MADAM), and THE RED WOLF. As always with this label, the moving menu designs are first rate and several Hollywood major studios could learn something from studying them.

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