The Plot: Kitty (Chingmy Yau) is a rough and tumble young woman who is the adoration of every young man she comes in contact with, but she also has a strict code of ethics and isn’t afraid to stab an unfaithful man between his legs. Tinam (Simon Yam) is a cop who is suffering from shellshock as he is unable to deal with his job as a police officer due to his accidentally shooting his own partner. Now whenever he even sees a gun, much less holds one, he vomits profusely. When these two eventually cross paths, a slow love affair begins to blossom. Tinam who had been impotent since the loss of his partner has found the ability to love again once in the arms of Kitty. However, things are about to end suddenly for this duo as Kitty’s father is killed in a struggle with a man that was shacking up with Kitty’s mother in-law. Kitty traces this man back to an office building where she attempts to assassinate the man and his network of goons. Things do not go exceedingly well as she barely escapes with her life and has to be aided by Sister Cindy (Wai Yiu) who just so happened to be there. Cindy is a professional assassin and she sees great promise with Kitty so she takes her under her wing. As Kitty soon finds, the world of assassins is one that is full of political maneuvering and quickly made enemies. As she and Tinam are soon drawn back to one another, this new life is going to prove to be exceedingly difficult to keep up with.

The Review
Wong Jing is one of those filmmakers whose reputation far exceeds his precedence or even importance within the industry. The number of titles he has produced that have had international acclaim, I can probably count on two hands. That doesn’t mean a whole lot when you are responsible for nearly two hundred films. With that said, I am not entirely down on Mr. Jing. Many of my contemporary critics have nothing but hatred for the man, but as far as I am concerned he is just a filmmaker who “gets” the entertainment side of the industry. His “everything plus the kitchen sink” style of cinema has kept him a financial success, if not a critically acclaimed master auteur. Naked Killer is a title that he produced and wrote the script for, but his influence can be felt throughout the entire feature. Director Clarence Fok, best known for the Yuen Biao time travel classic The Iceman Cometh, continues in the vein of other Jing films and buries his audience underneath a barrage of exploitation and insanity. While doing so, he crafts one of the best Cat III titles I have ever seen.

For those who don’t know, Cat III (or Category III) is a very harsh rating within the Hong Kong film industry that essentially became a genre within itself during the late eighties and early nineties. These films, more often than not, were similar to Japanese pinku films or American softcore erotica. These were features with low budgets and the only rules being that there are a select number of erotic sequences throughout the movies. Naked Killer is one of the few Cat III titles that actually relies less on its sexuality and more on its violent spectacle. To be honest I only have a mild interest in erotic cinema, just enough of an interest to search out the basics of various cultures, so to this day I still put off a great deal of the Cat III genre. So many of these films seem dedicated to generic sex comedy formulas with only a tad bit of leniency towards the world of cinematic “oddities”. Naked Killer however is the polar opposite in the fact that its obsessions with violence and bodily fluids far outweigh any fascination with the female form!

Naked Killer is a hodgepodge of ideas thrown at the canvas in an attempt to see what sticks. The surprising thing is that it works so well! From Simon Yam’s numerous vomit sequences to the very well choreographed gunplay, it is hard to pin down just what the filmmakers are going for when watching Naked Killer. A slightly comedic look at genre cinema, Naked Killer is never short on jokes or sleaze. The sleaze is of a higher quality production than what you might expect however. This movie looks good, real good! The set design is utterly amazing. From black and white textured tiles and over the top broad, slightly garish, colors that line every wall. There’s a certain Tim Burton-esque feel to some of these sets and the general atmosphere. It is so over the top that it becomes a fantasy world, which doesn’t lead to the most gritty or urbane areas one could find to make their “assassin” movie but it works in a very odd way. Odd is generally the most apt description one could use for this piece of action cinema, as I doubt there will ever be another title quite like Naked Killer.

Going back to my roots with the film, it is a movie that I have actually been looking forward to for quite some time. When Fortune Star began releasing many celebrated Hong Kong classics on DVD a few years back, I found myself avidly collecting their titles but unfortunately Naked Killer didn’t cross my path. The trailer that they had promoting the film on their other DVDs however made it out to be something that I just could not miss. As it turns out, those trailers were not wrong. Although I am going to try and avoid hyping up this title to the heavens and back, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the exploitation madness that Clarence Fok dishes out. There are things in Naked Killer that defy logic, reason or meaning but manage to entertain at all times. While I may run the risk of simply rambling on about random moments from the film, I can’t help but mention a few really bizarre things that this movie has to offer you. For one, the copious amount of vomiting that Simon Yam’s character does in the film sticks out. He vomits directly on the camera at one point in a notoriously disgusting moment. Another great, but strange, sequence involves Chingmy Yau as she attempts to have her vengeance on the man responsible for her father’s death. During a massive battle, featuring some great choreography, one of the bad guys manages to split her legs while she sits on a couch and he then axe kicks her directly in the crotch five or six times. I would be bereft if I didn’t mention the notorious penis eating sequence as well! That’s right, a penis is detached and a gentleman accidentally eats it without noticing its subtle flavor. How could anyone bite into a bloody, human tissue covered penis and not realize it isn’t a roasted piece of pork? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can’t help but love this movie for having the gumption to actually go in such an oddball direction.

Naked Killer is a surface-level film, there is no doubt. Although there is a sentimental, yet also bizarre, love story at work through most of the picture, this is just a part of the texture. This is a film of transgression and breaking taboos, while being as stylish as one could possibly be in the mean time. The violence is brutal at times (any person who gets their head slammed into an object immediately erupts a gallon of blood) and the sexuality is grandiose and in your face. The lesbian seduction during Chingmy Yau’s training sequence is potent and the eroticism is really on point. Unfortunately Fortune Star, who I generally like quite a bit, released this film in its cut form so for those of us with that disc we were left out of the one or two instances of actual nudity throughout the film. That’s right, a movie with the title Naked Killer actually has no nudity in its US release. A let down for those who might have hoped to see a bit more from these beautiful women. Although I would have preferred to watch the uncut version, I think the ostracization of sex in the film really brings to light how utterly strange it is in all other areas. It also helps us to focus on the action, which is plentiful to say the least. Taking a cue from the John Woo handbook of Heroic Bloodshed, we are treated to a few instances of really well choreographed gun battling. Mixed in with the blistering pace of the martial arts and you have a movie that handles its action in far more regard than its sexuality.

The Trivia
  • Simon Yam actually suffered burns to his hair while on the set of the movie, likely during the final sequence.

  • Chingmy Yau was dating Wong Jing at the time and Jing thought that the actress wasn’t being taken very serious. Naked Killer was a vehicle of sorts to show that she was more than just a comedic actress.

  • The Conclusion
    Although it is far from perfect, I loved Naked Killer. It is sleazy and morally bankrupt at times, but never knowledgeable of this fact. It chugs away with the speed of a rocket as we take on subplot after subplot until the movie finds its explosive climax. I would recommend readers searching out the uncut version first if possible, but I really don’t think you can go wrong with any copy of this classic piece of Cat III insanity. Easily one of the best I have seen to bear that particular title. Check it out some time!